Plan now for swine flu, Hunts Chamber advises

HUNTINGDONSHIRE companies are urged to look at a 30-minute webcast produced by a panel of experts to give firms up-to-date information about swine flu and practical advice on how to minimise the negative impact that it may have on their business productiv

HUNTINGDONSHIRE companies are urged to look at a 30-minute webcast produced by a panel of experts to give firms up-to-date information about swine flu and practical advice on how to minimise the negative impact that it may have on their business productivity.

The webcast, which is now available to view from the Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce website, features Laurence Buckman, chairman of the general practitioners committee at the British Medical Association, and David Frost, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, and advises companies to put procedures into place now to prevent the virus from becoming a major issue in the coming months.

John Bridge, chief executive of Huntingdonshire Chamber of Commerce, said: "The key message to businesses is to be fully prepared and to assess their operations from a business continuity perspective without delay, but meanwhile to keep the situation in perspective.

"We are certainly not at a point where there is a risk of the entire country coming to a standstill, and a balanced view is essential. But it is still important that employers big and small do start to think about steps they can take now to protect their business interests should a significant number of employees fall ill at any one time.


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"Areas highlighted in the webcast included introducing flexible working arrangements to assist employees who need to look after sick relatives, keeping ongoing internal records to ensure that current processes can be seamlessly picked up should a staff member come down with the virus, and actively encouraging employees to wash their hands and work surfaces after sneezing."

Meanwhile, St Ives-based FlexAble Group has been providing businesses with gels and wipes to help business owners ensure that hygiene standards are being maintained by employees and visitors within their workplace. The items, which have been flying out of their warehouse since they came into stock a month ago, are widely available from the company's Flexeshop on the popular online auction site eBay.

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Sarah Vanbergen, a director of the Flex-Able Group, said: "We're experiencing growing demand for all the sanitising products, but by far the most popular have been the disposable thermometers, which apparently can be quite hard to get hold of, and we're continually having to replenish our supplies to cope with demand.

"We're finding that a lot of companies are buying them in now because they recognise the need to be able to determine quickly and effectively whether a member of staff is experiencing a fever, which we know to be one of the key early symptoms of swine flu."

INFORMATION: During the webcast, which can now be accessed from www.cambridgeshirechamber.co.uk, Dr Buckman also highlighted the key symptoms to look out for, particularly a temperature of 104 degrees or more. The chamber website also includes links to detailed guidance for employers and business travellers.

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