Act First Safety

We are already a few months into flu season in Canada which normally begins around October and can continue until as late as May. According to the Government of Ontario website, peak flu season is just around the corner, beginning in December and usually lasting about 10 to 16 weeks. Every year the flu is linked to 200,000 doctor’s visits, 1,000 hospitalizations and up to 300 deaths. Not to mention the absenteeism and cost to employers for time off due to sickness.
There are many things we can all do to ready ourselves for peak flu season. Even employers have a duty to take reasonable precaution to protect the health and safety of their workers. The Ministry of Labour website states that employers must:
• put in place the measures needed to protect workers from infectious diseases, including the flu virus
• inform, instruct and supervise workers so as to protect their health and safety

Here are some simple things you can do to avoid getting the flu:
– Get a flu shot
– Wash your hands often – especially after being in public places such as public transit or a grocery store – the influenza virus can lasts for up to 3 hours on our skin
– Use an alcohol based hand sanitizer to kill germs in between washing your hands
– Avoid touching your face or rubbing your eyes – the flu virus usually enters our body through our mouth, eyes or nose
– Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough to help prevent the spread of germs
– Stay home if you feel sick – the flu virus can spread easily in large crowds or at an office
– Practice infection control – keep common surfaces clean and disinfected – viruses can live on surfaces such as door knobs, telephones, keyboards for up to 2 days

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