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Prevent the Spread of Communicable Diseases
• Maintenance of company operations.
• Sustaining a functioning workforce to m...
Prevent the Spread of Communicable Diseases
• Development of a monitoring program to track
employees who cannot return to ...
of 3

Prevent the Spread of Communicable Diseases

Communicable diseases, which include influenza, hepatitis, tuberculosis, leprosy and many others, can emerge in a population or work setting at any time. These diseases can create serious health problems in the workplace, and because you are responsible for providing your employees with a safe and healthy working environment, it is important to be prepared. Preparing your business to deal with a communicable disease outbreak involves adjusting relevant policies, implementing new policies when necessary and creating a viable response plan...
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Published in: Education      
Source: www.slideshare.net


Transcripts - Prevent the Spread of Communicable Diseases

  • 1. Provided by SterlingRisk This Risk Insights is not intended to be exhaustivenor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. © 2010-2011 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved. Because you are responsible for providing your employees with a safe and healthy working environment, it is important to be prepared for a communicable disease in your workplace. Prevent the Spread of Communicable Diseases Communicable diseases, which include influenza, hepatitis, tuberculosis, leprosy and many others, can emerge in a population or work setting at any time. These diseases can create serious health problems in the workplace, and because you are responsible for providing your employees with a safe and healthy working environment, it is important to be prepared. Preparing your business to deal with a communicable disease outbreak involves adjusting relevant policies, implementing new policies when necessary and creating a viable response plan. Communicable Disease Policy At the most primary level, organizations should develop a policy requiring employees to notify the company of any possible exposure to certain diseases. This will allow the organization to take proactive preventive measures against the spread of the disease. Since medical disclosures are governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers must ensure that the policy meets the requirements of the ADA, including keeping employee health information confidential as required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). As part of the policy, employees may be asked to work reduced hours, work in a quarantined area and/or may be removed from nonessential job duties until they are no longer contagious. Leave Policies Social distancing is one of the best methods to prevent the spread of a communicable disease in the workplace, but it is often an impossible task for a manufacturing business. Therefore, ill employees should be encouraged to remain away from the workplace to reduce the likelihood of infecting others. As an employer, you have the right to ask a sick employee to leave work or stay home to protect the health and safety of other employees. During an outbreak, other employees may fear that they will come in contact with a disease and may consequently refuse to come to work, or employees may be forced to stay home to care for sick family members. To address all of these concerns, companies should consider devising special leave policies. Leave policies should address the following issues: • Compliance with the directives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with regard to social distancing.
  • 2. Prevent the Spread of Communicable Diseases • Maintenance of company operations. • Sustaining a functioning workforce to minimize the effects of employee absenteeism. • Limiting close contact among employees, if possible. • Compliance with applicable laws, including the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). • Address the following logistical concerns: o How employees request communicable disease leave. o Requirements for regularly reporting medical conditions. o Whether leave is paid or unpaid. o Whether benefits are provided or accrued during the leave period. o If leave becomes exhausted, whether employee will be required to return to work. Legal Considerations In addition to the laws mentioned above, there are other laws that may affect a communicable disease policy and its ramifications: • The Privacy Rules under HIPAA require employers to protect the privacy of all employee medical information. As a result, employers must determine what diseases employees must report, who will have access to this information and whether reporting this information to public health officials is necessary. If other employees must be notified of a possible communicable disease case in the workplace, all necessary precautions must be taken to protect the privacy of the infected individual. • Under FMLA (for employers with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius), employees who have worked for the company for 12 months and have worked 1,250 hours within the last 12 months are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave due to a “serious health condition.” Most communicable diseases will likely be applicable under this regulation. • Employees who suffer permanent health problems that substantially affect their daily lives may be entitled to protections under the ADA. • Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), employers must confirm that employees under their health plan receive an updated summary plan description (SPD) of the health benefits. If employees do not receive a SPD, the provisions allowing the plan to change may not be enforceable. Furthermore, if an employer cannot prove that employees and/or dependents did receive a revised SPD, then the employer may be required to provide higher benefits in accordance with previous SPDs. Crafting a Response Plan Creating a communicable disease response plan is an effective way to communicate with employees clearly while also complying with local, state and federal guidelines for pandemic responses. Plans should be concise, easy to understand and effective in preserving the health and safety of all employees. Plans should include: • The designation of a person within the workplace who is responsible for all disease planning and emergency actions. • Communication of the policy and required steps for requesting leave. • Development of protocol with regard to reduced job performances due to absence or quarantine.
  • 3. Prevent the Spread of Communicable Diseases • Development of a monitoring program to track employees who cannot return to work immediately due to illness. • Development of social distancing strategies (where applicable) to limit transmission risks. • Plan distribution timeline and format (online, hard copy, etc.). In the very worst of situations, employers must be flexible and creative to continue to fulfill their production deadlines while also protecting their employees and maintaining stability in the workplace. By expanding employee assistance initiatives and creating leave policies, can maintain a loyal workforce that remains healthy and safe.