The Flu and Safety—the Sniffly Connection

Lean organizations are the norm—every person and every job matters to the mission. When all hands are ready for duty, safe work practices align with the mission.  However, when a couple of absences enter the workflow, safety mindfulness can be diverted to thinking about shortcuts. Outcomes can include injuries instead of efficiencies.

Millions of workdays are lost due to the annual flu season in the US—almost 17 million in one NIH study. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that billions of dollars are spent in sick days and lost productivity in our country.1  Some of those lost days are hospitalized workers with complications from the flu.  The flu can even be life threatening.  Influenza is contagious before symptoms are severe enough to keep you home. So the virus spreads—the more folks incubating the flu illness at work before they feel badly enough to miss work, then the MORE ill folks we’ll have incubating and out of work the next week.

The CDC recommends annual flu vaccination as the first and best way to prevent flu. Take a look at the infographic on CDC’s BusinessPulse: How CDC protects the health of your business” for ways CDC is assisting businesses in promoting flu vaccination for employees.

From Florida to Maine, seasonal flu cases have been reported already. Get your own flu shot and promote employee vaccinations. As CDC says, “Make it your Business to Fight the Flu.”  It is a win-win when workers are protected.  The CDC offers information, free podcasts, mobile apps, widgets, eCards, and more to make the vaccination campaign effective. Click here for more info on containing the contagion from MEMIC’s Greg LaRochelle.

"Take 3" Actions to Fight the Flu says CDC

  • Vaccinate
  • Stop germs
  • Antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them  Molinari NA, Ortega-Sanchez IR, Messonnier ML, Thompson WW, Wortley PM, Weintraub E, Bridges CB. The annual impact of seasonal influenza in the US: measuring disease burden and costs. Vaccine 2007;25(27):5086–5096.