Recommendations to Implement Workplace Emergency Plans in Light of the Influenza Epidemic

May 18, 2009
Recommendations to Implement Workplace Emergency Plans in Light of the Influenza Epidemic

On May 4, 2009 Mexico’s Department of Labor and Social Welfare (Secretaria del Trabajo y Prevision Social de Mexico or STPS) published a seriesof individual and collective health and sanitary guidelines for workplaces and meeting places which must be observed during the reactivation ornormalization of their operations. The purpose of the plan is to facilitate identification and implementation of those health promotion, prevention andcontrol measures that will contribute to minimizing the effects of the influenza epidemic in the workplace. The plan is of an advisory nature and eachworkplace, according to its circumstances, should attempt to follow its terms to the greatest extent possible. The foregoing does not affect existing legalobligations in the health and safety area that apply independently of the influenza emergency and are part of Mexico’s workplace security system.Thus, the STPS recommends: 1. - On the part of employers: (i) sensitivity, flexibility and tolerance with respect to absences and tardiness in theworkplace given that many workers have schoolchildren and specifically, not to apply salary discounts for absences or tardiness; (ii) to avoid sanctionson working women who are expecting or nursing for absences, or reduce their salaries or benefits, in conformity with articles 166 and 167 of theFederal Labor Law; (iii) to provide basic personal hygiene services including hand washing with water and soap, proper ventilation, air conditioningmaintenance, natural lighting, cleaning supplies and equipment; (iv) to identify any employee who presents influenza symptoms in order to beimmediately isolated to a safe place and kept away from the rest of the workers, with the employee being taken to a medical clinic to receive medicalattention. 2. – For employees: (i) do not attend work if showing signs of influenza; (ii) do not take children to the workplace in order to avoid physicalcontact and possible contagiousness; and (iii) follow instructions and directions of employers in conformity with the provisions of the HealthDepartment. The guidelines are available at http://www.stps.gob.mx/ANEXOS/Guia_Influenza_05.pdf

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