The Louisiana Workforce Commission and Louisiana Economic Development urge Louisiana businesses to follow federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration, or OSHA, guidelines for responding to the threat of swine flu.
"Louisiana employers are responsible for providing a workplace that is safe and healthful for employees," said Tim Barfield, executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission. "Proper and swift action can go a long way in alleviating concern and stem any possible spread of the disease."
"We encourage Louisiana businesses and their employees to take proactive steps," said LED Secretary Stephen Moret.
Businesses can visit a special OSHA Web page, www.osha.gov/Publications/influenza_pandemic.html for information on how to prepare workplaces for a possible flu outbreak. The OSHA Web site also includes information on occupations more at risk for the flu outbreak, as well as guidance on how to maintain operations and other disaster planning.
"There are steps every employer can take to reduce the risk of exposure to a flu outbreak in their workplace, including simple things like encouraging frequent hand washing and discouraging joint use of phones and computer equipment," said Barfield.
If a worker shows symptoms of possible infection by the flu virus, the employer should immediately refer him or her for medical attention, said state public health officials.
Another online resource for information on what businesses and their employees should do to protect themselves against the spread of illness and to prevent against the spread of germs is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Web site, www.uschamber.com.
Businesses and workers are also encouraged to go to the state's flu response Web site, new.dhh.louisiana.gov for more information.