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How Employers Are Dealing With Swine Flu

Businesses try to handle operations with sick workers


Hand sanitizer and a digital thermometer are seen at P.H. Glatfelter Co.,  in York, Pa. P.H. Glatfelter Co., which makes everything from coffee filters and paper for books and envelopes to laminates for countertops, needs about 80 percent of its workforce on site at its factories, says spokesman Michael Springer. So this year Glatfelter began offering flu shots to employees' families, including a thermometer in the free "wellness pack" workers get and relaxing sick-leave rules for those hit with swine flu. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Hand sanitizer and a digital thermometer are seen at P.H. Glatfelter Co., in York, Pa. P.H. Glatfelter Co., which makes everything from coffee filters and paper for books and envelopes to laminates for countertops, needs about 80 percent of its workforce on site at its factories, says spokesman Michael Springer. So this year Glatfelter began offering flu shots to employees' families, including a thermometer in the free "wellness pack" workers get and relaxing sick-leave rules for those hit with swine flu. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Some common strategies employers are using or planning to limit spread of swine flu among their workforce and keep operations going normally:


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— Posting information about the swine flu, including tips on hygiene and overall healthy behavior aimed at preventing infection, at the work site or on the company intranet.

— Giving hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes to employees or placing them in major traffic areas.

— Limiting in-person meetings and instead opting for teleconferences.

— Encouraging social distancing, such as not shaking hands.

— Cross-training employees to cover critical functions.

— Planning to shift work from hard-hit locations to other facilities.

— Stocking up on protective face masks.

— Stepping up office facility cleaning, particularly in “high-touch” areas.

— Telling workers to stay home if they are ill, generally until a day after their fever breaks.

— Allowing telecommuting for staff members who must stay home to care for relatives sick with swine flu.

— Drills to verify that computer systems can handle a sharp increase in those working remotely.

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Source: AP interviews.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

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