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Be Winter-Ready initiative.

The main message during the winter months is simple: Be Prepared, Stay Safe and Know here to find help when you need it. The following information is aimed at helping workplaces to be prepared for the winter months both in terms of health and travel issues.

As an employer, what do I need to know?

As we come into the winter months, COVID-19, influenza and other respiratory viruses circulate at increased levels within our communities. These viruses spread easily from one person to another. As COVID-19, colds and flu are caused by viruses, they cannot be treated with antibiotics. It is everyone’s responsibility to reduce the spread of germs that cause infections such as coughs, colds, flu, COVID-19 and tummy bugs. The best ways to manage or prevent infection are:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces regularly
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Keep up to date with your COVID and flu vaccines

You can support employees to practice the behaviours that will help reduce the risk of illness. Around 93 percent of all short-term absences from work are caused by minor illnesses such as colds and flu*. This costs employers, on average, approximately €818 per employee per year**.

It is very important that people stay at home from work if they have a cold or flu and should only return to work when their symptoms have been gone for 48 hours.  Employers are urged to facilitate this advice wherever possible.

What can I do to support employees to stay healthy?

  • Ensuring that appropriate handwashing facilities are available, and that soap dispensers are kept topped up
  • Providing hand sanitiser at entrance and exit points and in communal areas
  • Ensuring that the work space is cleaned and disinfected regularly
  • Advising employees of the importance of staying at home when sick
  • Displaying health information posters and leaflets in bathrooms and communal areas
  • Providing health information on staff intranet, including information on good respiratory etiquette and the importance of hand hygiene
  • Providing information on vaccines. Many employers choose to offer flu vaccinations which is a simple and cost-effective way to support your employees to stay healthy. Further information on eligibility for flu and COVID vaccines is available at Screenings and vaccinations – HSE.ie

Here are some leaflets that may be useful to display in the workplace:

Here are digital resources that may be helpful:

Additional helpful resources for your workplace:

*Source: Health and Well-being at Work, CIPD, March 2020

**Source: Employee Absenteeism – A Guide to Managing Absence, IBEC, August 2011.

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