In order for a business or an organisation to manage an adverse event or business disruption, and continue to function, it must consider a range of activities and measures that it can take to prevent and prepare for, respond and recover from the event.
Preparing your business
The most important thing businesses can do to prepare for a pandemic is have a business continuity plan in place. This will be different from the kind of business continuity plan needed for other emergencies.
It will need to place more emphasis on continuity in the event of high absenteeism and interruptions to the supply of goods and services, which could result from the restriction of movement of people into and within Australia.
Absenteeism could be as high as 30 to 50 per cent at the peak of a pandemic.
Key issues businesses should consider when developing a continuity plan include:
- identifying essential business activities (and the core people and skills to keep them running), and ensuring that these are backed up with alternative arrangements, where possible
- identifying the infrastructure and resources required for the organisation to continue operating at the minimum acceptable level
- developing mitigation strategies for business disruptions, including possible shortages of supplies, and developing contingency plans for continued operation
- ensuring that relevant employees, customers and suppliers are aware of the contingency arrangements, and that the arrangements will work
- minimising illness in workers and including infection control guidance in the plan.
If you run a business, you might want to take proactive measures to help stop the spread of infection by providing tissues and 'no-touch' bins, facilities for washing hands with soap and water or cleaning hands with alcohol-based products for your employees and clients, and posting up signs to remind people about good hygiene practices.
There is currently a vaccine available that will protect your staff from H1N1 influenza. Encourage your staff to obtain an annual influenza vaccination or provide annual seasonal influenza vaccinations for your staff. The 2010 seasonal influenza vaccine will also protect your staff from three strains of influenza, including H1N1 influenza.