Old Saybrook, CT - October 18, 2004 - More than one-third of the participants
in an online poll at HR.BLR.com say the sudden shortage of flu vaccine has led
their companies to cancel their flu shot programs this year.
This share of the total vote rises to nearly one-half, or 48.7 percent, when
factoring out those who said their companies weren't planning to offer flu shots
in the first place.
HR.BLR.com asked visitors, "Will you be providing flu shots to your employees
this year?" Here's how the voting went:
35% - We had planned to, but the sudden shortage has forced a cancellation.
28% - We hadn't planned to provide shots in any event.
21% - We still plan to, but things are uncertain now.
17% - We're still planning to provide shots.
The poll, held from Thursday, October 8, to Thursday, October 15, drew a total
of 373 votes.
Even without flu shots, employers can help their employees stay healthy this
winter, according to editors at Business and Legal Reports, the legal publisher
that presents HR.BLR.com. Among the steps they can take:
- Promote wellness programs. If properly directed and done in consultation
with the employer's health insurance provider, these programs can actually
- Encourage employees to wash their hands often, to head off the spread of
germs from handshakes and other human contact. The federal Occupational Safety
and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide hand washing
facilities that are readily accessible to employees.
- Before requiring employees to work longer hours, consider what impact it
might have on their rest time.
- Encourage employees who do become sick to stay home, so their illness won't
spread. Too often, their work ethic or the "unwritten code" of the
workplace makes it a badge of honor to come to work sick.