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Sunday, 19th April 2009

Many Health Care Facilities Not Prepared to Protect Healthcare Workers in Event of Pandemic Flu Outbreak

Many Health Care Facilities Not Prepared to Protect Healthcare Workers in Event of Pandemic Flu Outbreak
Source: AFL-CIO

Many of our health care facilities are not prepared to protect healthcare workers from exposures to pandemic influenza, according to a new report compiled by six major labor unions and the AFL-CIO. At over 104 health care facilities nationwide, a “pandemic flu preparedness survey” was administered over the course of 2008 to determine the level of worker safety and health preparedness on a facility basis.

While the results of the survey indicate that health care facilities have made some progress in preparing for an influenza pandemic, it found that over a third of the surveyed facilities have no written plan for responding to pandemic flu. More than one-third of the survey respondents believe their workplace is either not ready or only slightly ready to address the health and safety needs necessary to protect healthcare workers during a pandemic. Over 43% of the respondents felt that, given this lack of readiness, most or some of their co-workers would stay home in the event of a pandemic outbreak.

The report...also lists several recommendations to address the problems uncovered by the survey. It calls for OSHA to issue a mandatory standard requiring health care facilities to protect all healthcare workers from exposure to pandemic flu. It also calls for Congressional action to ensure that healthcare workers not currently covered by OSHA are covered by the mandatory standard and to assess the extent and readiness of facilities to protect workers.

+ Full Report (PDF; 88 KB)


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