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Swine flu affects business, employers on high alert

Swine flu is gripping the globe, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) this morning raising it’s pandemic flu alert level to five.

WHO director-general Dr  Margaret Chan urged all countries to take immediate action.

The WHO said the hike was a signal to governments, pharmaceutical industry and the business community to take action.

The effect to business could be catastrophic, and employees who are showing signs of the swine flu should seek medical attention, says the Sydney Chamber of Commerce.

The have put employers on high alert, urging them to “exercise extreme vigilance in monitoring workplace health.”

Patricia Forsythe, Executive Director of the Sydney Chamber of Commerce said it is now more important than ever for employers monitor the health and wellbeing of their employees. She has cautioned Sydney businesses in particular, due to the “globally integrated” nature of Sydney’s workforce.

“Sydney’s workforce is globally integrated which means employees who travel for work may be at increased risk.

“Health authorities are treating swine influenza as a potential threat to public health and employers would be wise to consider the potential impact on their business.”

She pointed to a possible loss in productivity, and businesses would be well advised to “develop strategies to help manage the issue.”

“Influenza in general is a major health and safety issue for workplaces. Workplace vaccinations can assist in protecting the wellbeing of employees and mitigate the risk of lost productivity.”

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