Avian Flu Concerns Outpace Preparedness According to Workplace Survey from Kimberly-Clark Professional

ROSWELL, Ga. -- As the cold and flu season approaches and as concerns about avian flu rise, workplace preparedness is lagging behind, according to a survey from Kimberly-Clark Professional.

Seventy percent of respondents said they believed avian flu was likely to hit North America, but only 25 percent responded yes when asked, Has your company engaged in building a plan in the event of an actual outbreak of the avian flu?  Forty percent expressed concern about an avian flu outbreak in their workplace.

Respondents were given a list of possible actions employers could take to minimize workplace risk associated with avian flu outbreak and were asked to give their opinion as either in favor or opposed.  Posting respiratory etiquette and handwashing posters or stickers garnered the most positive responses, with 93 percent of respondents saying they favored posting these in common areas.  This was followed by:

-- Maintaining lists of health-related websites, telephone numbers and other resources for senior leadership or building management personnel (89 percent).

-- Training workers in the proper use of protective equipment (87 percent). 

-- Establishing an emergency plan or kit to identify and treat avian flu symptoms (86 percent).

-- Establishing a workplace continuity plan (85 percent).

-- Storing protective masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and other materials in bulk (79 percent).

-- Installing a verbal reminder system to encourage handwashing (75 percent).

-- Encouraging people to work from home when possible (49 percent).

The national, online survey was conducted in May and polled employees in healthcare, science, manufacturing, office buildings, lodging and other industries.  Kimberly-Clark Professional issued the voluntary, nonrandom survey using its own industry e-newsletter and received 379 responses.

Source: Kimberly-Clark Professional