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Call on the “Flu Fighters” to keep your workplace healthy

With flu cases increasing in Oregon, SAIF wants to make sure the flu stays out of the workplace.

posted January 31, 2017

That's why we're recommending tips for workers to stay healthy this winter:

  • Get vaccinated. Find out where to get your flu shot at flushot.healthmap.org.
  • Wash your hands. Or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cough and sneeze into your sleeve or elbow-not your hand.
  • Make healthy choices. Eat healthy foods, get good sleep, manage stress, and get plenty of fresh air and exercise. 
  • If you do get sick, stay home. Oregon law requires employers with 10 or more employees to provide 40 hours of paid leave per year.

In addition to encouraging workers to stay home when they are under the weather, businesses could also consider having a contingency plan for this time of year to anticipate being short a few employees.

"Whether an employee is out due to illness, or even an injury, extra work falls to the other staff members," said Sabrina Freewynn, Total Worker Health consultant at SAIF. "This increases the likelihood of additional injuries or illness for those employees still at work, as they have more to do and more stress as a result."

Contingency plans could include bringing in additional staff, addressing staffing shortfalls, and communicating to employees about the plan.

"Staff members out sick will feel less stress knowing they aren't leaving their fellow workers in the lurch," said Freewynn.

The CDC has declared the flu as "widespread" in Oregon since the week of December 24, and Oregon Health Authority reported more than 1,000 new influenza-associated hospitalizations this flu season (starting October, 2016) in the Portland area alone. This sets an unfortunate record for the most hospitalizations during a flu season. And Portland is not alone - there have been 109 confirmed flu outbreaks in Oregon since October with 13 just last week.

For more information on flu prevention at work, including posters featuring Flu Fighters Maxine Vaccine and Sleevie Nix, visit saif.com/flu. Posters are also available in Spanish at saif.com/trabajador.

About SAIF
SAIF is Oregon's not-for-profit workers' compensation insurance company. For more than 100 years, we've been taking care of injured workers, helping people get back to work, and striving to make Oregon the safest and healthiest place to work.