a worker wears a protective mask covering her nose and mouth

IFMA Foundation Offers Pandemic Readiness Manual

Noting that workplaces have a vested interest in mitigating the effects of a pandemic, the International Facility Management Association Foundation offered its "Pandemic Preparedness Manual" as a free online resource yesterday. A flu outbreak "could lead to the absenteeism of 25 to 50 percent of employees for up to four months, potentially causing supply chain disruptions and the closure of retail facilities, further impacting the global economic downturn," the foundation noted in its release.

The 125-page manual is available here. It explains how pandemic flu can affect a facility and why business continuity planning and Business Impact Analysis (BIA) documents are useful. Tips and worksheets are provided. The guide recommends reviewing a business continuity plan semi-annually and testing and training on it annually. A BIA should be revisited every three years or after a substantive change in the business or its operations. Section 2.8 of the manual outlines pandemic risk factors and control options for managers of various kinds of facilities.

Threats/hazards including fire, flooding, chemical releases, workplace violence, vendor/supplier failure, and voice/data network failure are included in the worksheets. Control measures listed in the manual start with employee training on awareness and prevention. Employers are encouraged to make supplies such as tissues, hand soap, and sanitary wipes available and to be vigilant in sanitizing commonly touched surfaces.

"The IFMA Foundation has this manual ready to go 24/7 on its Web site as a resource for anyone concerned about maintaining the health and safety of their workplace," said IFMA Foundation Executive Director William Rub. "When used in conjunction with information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the latest media reports, we feel this manual gives facility professionals the tools they need to do their part in mitigating the harmful effects of this outbreak."

The IFMA Foundation was created in 1990 as a non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation and a separate entity from IFMA.

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