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Tips to protect workers from colds and flu

23 January 2013

Workplace equipment provider Slingsby has issued guidance on preventing the spread of viruses and flu in the workplace...

Figures from the CBI reveal there were 180 million sick days taken in the UK in 2009 costing employers around £17 billion and colds and flu are still cited as one of the main causes of short-term absence.

Slingsby has compiled a list of guidelines that workplaces should encourage employees to follow in order to maintain a healthy environment:-

Wash hands regularly - This is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of colds. Frequent hand washing kills viruses that are acquired from touching surfaces used by other people so ensure all sinks and wash rooms have well stocked soap dispensers or antibacterial hand wash present:

• Avoid touching your face - especially the nose, mouth, and eye areas, if you are around someone with a cold or have been touching surfaces in a public area

• Stop smoking - cigarette smoke can irritate the airways and increase susceptibility to colds and other infections

• Use disposable cups and cutlery - These are good in busy environments because they can be thrown away after each use and prevent the accidental spread of viruses from sharing cups etc

• Keep surfaces clean - door knobs, keyboards, light switches, telephones, remote controls, desks and work surfaces can all harbour viruses for hours after their use by an infected person. Ensure surfaces are cleaned regularly with soap and water or a disinfectant solution

• Paper towels are good in kitchens and bathrooms for hand washing because germs can live for several hours on cloth towels

• Control stress. Studies have shown that people experiencing stress have weakened immune systems and are more likely to catch a cold than their calmer counterparts