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Workplace Safety and Health Law Blog

Posts in infectious disease.

People are increasingly concerned about the Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV, but past Coronavirus outbreaks such as SARS caused 774 reported fatalities versus 60,000 due to Seasonal Flu. Equally importantly, most of the steps to prevent the spread of flu apply to the 2019-nCoV. Be creative and robust in your efforts. We have a few suggestions.

We have witnessed unsettling global developments in infectious diseases, such as antibiotic-resistant infections, the resurgence of almost eradicated diseases, increasingly nerve-wracking pandemics arising in East Asia, and an expansion of tropical diseases to the U.S. mainland. Not surprisingly, employers are being forced to deal with a variety of workplace infections and illnesses. All employers would be wise to educate and prepare for the occasional odd disease challenge, much as do healthcare employers.

My weekly Round Up of OSHA and relevant legal developments, practical insights and news and observations relevant to Risk Managers, Safety and HR professionals, and executives interested n reducing risk and instilling leadership in the workplace. Special emphasis this week on handling OSHA witness statement demands.

I recently read a fictional account of a 1918 flu-like pandemic which shut down basic services for an extended period. I come from a less conspiratorial perspective, but the Annapolis grad author raised some valid points and painted an all too vivid picture of how badly people might behave.

Almost one thousand people attended Thursday’s webinar on Ebola in the workplace. Our platform presented technical challenges, and we appreciated the patience of our listeners. About 700 are scheduled for Friday.

The addition of monitoring efforts of West African travelers entering the U.S. after they leave the airport may relieve some people but concern others. From a labor lawyer's perspective, this approach continues the CDC's releuctance to isolate individuals. If the CDC continues this approach, it becomes more legally risky for an employer to refuse to let such a person return to work absent strong objective concern.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tightening previous infection control guidance for healthcare workers caring for patients with Ebola, to ensure there is no ambiguity. The guidance focuses on specific personal protective equipment (PPE) health care workers should use and offers detailed step by step instructions for how to put the equipment on and take it off safely.

In addition to my own blogging and interviews, Fisher Phillips is developing more resources to continually update and assist employers in responding to challenges in the workplace caused by Ebola or the fears that the disease engenders. Today, however, we'll again use the F & P Workplace Safety Blog.

First, for backgound, please review my two blogs this weekend; the first which provides an ...

Almost 4.1 million employees missed work due to illness last January, which was the most since 2008. Even worse, the four-month peak season lasted through March, so the numbers continued to add up. Some years, absences during that four-month period ran at 3.8 million a month, for a whopping total of 15+ million absences. Remember news outlets carrying stories in January 2013 about the City of Boston declaring a state of public-health emergency and of Chicago hospitals having to send flu patients to other hospitals?

The Dallas Buyers Club, just opened in limited cities, it’s the largely true story of a thoroughly unlikeable hard ass Texas oil worker at the beginning of the 80’s AIDS crisis, who learns that he has full blown AIDS (from wild heterosexual behavior). The movie is amazing. It’s not “political.” Rather, it manages to blend tragedy, comedy and true story into a story that puts a face on an incredibly brutal time. Matthew McConaughey’s performance is a possible Oscar winner. My hospital administrator wife and I talked about the movie for hours.

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