An epidemic is an infectious disease that quickly and severely affects a large number of people and then subsides. However, a pandemic is an epidemic that spreads worldwide, or at least across a large region.
Pandemics have posed the most deadly threats to mankind throughout history, claiming more lives than all accidents and wars combined. Tuberculosis, an airborne bacterial infection and smallpox, a viral infection have affected the human population on a pandemic scale for thousands of years.
More recently, in February 2004, the avian influenza virus was detected in birds in Vietnam. This discovery sparked fresh fears of the emergence of new variant strains. There is great concern among experts, that if the avian influenza virus combines with a human influenza virus (in a bird or a human), the new subtype created could be both highly contagious and lethal in humans, causing a global influenza pandemic to occur.
In the event of a Pandemic, what should you do to protect your business?
Information and guidance on infection control in the event of a pandemic can be found by visiting the HSE website http://www.hse.gov.uk/biosafety/diseases/pandemic.htm
Additionally, the UK government has invested a considerable amount of money and resource in contingency planning in the event of an influenza outbreak.
As with all Health and Safety matters, employers have a duty of care to protect their workers in the event of a pandemic break out.
If your staff are not aware of your organisation’s precautions and measures, then germs can spread and cause serious disruption to your company. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends that precautionary measures are implemented and that employers ensure that their employees practice good personal hygiene.
Training your staff in Pandemic Awareness will help your company be compliant with the HSE protection guidelines, help refine your health and safety processes and relay specific company policies, so staff are aware of what to do in the case of a pandemic and thus, reducing the risk of cross-infection.
The EssentialSkillz Pandemic Awareness eLearning course explains what a pandemic is, and the difference between that and a seasonal outbreak. The course describes the physical symptoms that might be seen, explores how a virus can spread and provides advice about the actions to take if medical help is required.
The online course highlights the necessity for good hygiene and how this can work to prevent viruses from being spread amongst the workforce. It also looks at vaccinations and at-risk employees.
The course has been designed to support an organisation’s approach to the implementation of control measures and, as with all the EssentialSkillz offers, the Pandemic Awareness eLearning course can be fully customised, enabling your workforce to understand the specific policies and procedures you have developed for your organisation. A designated course administrator can edit the text and images within the course, and link to organisation-specific documentation, all at no extra cost.
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