Saturday, May 16, 2009

CDC wants ‘pandemic coordinator’ in workplace

Lucas Mearian
May 1, 2009

If the World Health Organization (WHO) raises the pandemic threat alert to Level 6 — it’s already just one notch below that at Level 5 — companies that are now scrambling to figure out business continuity issues will have to do more than tell sick employees to stay home and healthy ones to wash their hands.

A Level 6 alert means that company officials will be asked by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to undertake a number of efforts to fight any pandemic — including the appointment of a workplace pandemic coordinator or team.

The coordinator would be responsible for monitoring employees to ensure they follow basic rules of hygiene, such as washing hands, and to make sure that breathing masks are available. And if a worker becomes sick, the pandemic monitor is supposed to ensure they go home, according to Jack Sotallaro, director of education at DRI International Inc. in Conway, Ark.

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