OSHA Presents Forum on Preparing Workplaces for H1N1

Public health officials are concerned the H1N1 (swine) influenza virus has begun its fall return and will likely cause widespread illness. To help employers prepare for the potential impact this virus could have on their workplaces, OSHA is presenting a forum, titled "Workplace Preparedness: How Small Businesses Can Prepare for H1N1 Influenza," today.

Expert panelists will discuss the differences between seasonal and pandemic influenza and explore work practices that employers can adopt to prevent the spread of the virus. Panelists will also examine strategies for assessing workplace exposure, communicating risks to workers and planning for a more severe influenza pandemic. Additionally, participants will receive guidance on continuing operations if a business experiences staff absenteeism.

"The H1N1 virus could have a major impact on the nation during the flu season," said Jordan Barab, acting assistant secretary of labor for OSHA. "Planning is critical, and this forum underscores the importance of employers taking the necessary steps to protect workers from this threat."

The forum will be held from 1-3 p.m. in the Department of Labor's Frances Perkins Building auditorium. Panelists include representatives from OSHA, local health departments and industry. Those interested in attending can contact Russell Jones at jones.russell@dol.gov or 202-693-2532, or Charlene Crawford at crawford.charlene@dol.gov or 202-693-2165.

For more information on H1N1 influenza, visit OSHA's Safety and Health Topics page on pandemic influenza at www.osha.gov/dsg/topics/pandemicflu/index.html.

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