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Construction industry swine flu guidelines issued

Engineers have been warned: ‘not to panic’ in the face of the growing Swine Flue pandemic, despite the death-toll rising from 17 to 29 last week, however many companies have put contingency measures into place regardless.

Atkins’ director of corporate services, Ian Purser told NCE: “A small number of Atkins staff have reported flu-like symptoms and so are staying at home, in keeping with recommended guidance. We will continue to monitor the situation and issue further advice as necessary.

“We have been taking regular advice on coping with the swine flu epidemic from the most trusted sources, including the Health Protection Agency,” he said.

When the outbreak was announced in April The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), the world’s largest body for health and safety, had issued warnings to 17 of its groups, one of which is for the construction industry and accounts for a third of its members.

The President of IOSH, Nattasha Freeman said that a possible pandemic was something businesses needed to prepare for now, not once it is happening closer to home:

“The government and public health officials are already taking steps to prepare the country for a possible pandemic, and its right that they should do so. But employers can play a role in ensuring their staffs cope, services are maintained and businesses continue to operate.

“A pandemic can spread rapidly. So organisations need to be flexible and prepare contingency plans in case a large number of staff, or their relatives, suddenly fall ill because of the virus.

“There’s no need to panic, but employers should follow government advice. It will still be possible for people to continue their everyday activities in most cases without any constraints,” she added.

We are taking all necessary measures to protect our staff as well as raising awareness with an internal education campaign.

Arcadis-Ayh director of health and safety, David Webster said “We have no reported cases of influenza in the organisation; however we are monitoring the situation internally as well as globally, within our Brazil office we have allocated a doctor for staff specifically for this reason that is ready to answer any specific questions and provide advice”.

The general message from construction companies is not to panic, follow the general hygienic procedures as issued by the department of health and if any symptoms arise to contact their health authority or corporate health team for advice.

Following the outbreak of the H1N1 virus in Mexico killing hundreds across the globe the number of deaths in the UK has now risen from 17 to 29 in a week according to government officials.

Many of the larger construction contracting and consulting companies such as Balfour Beatty, Atkins, Capita Symonds and Arcadis- Ayh presently report no suspected cases of the influenza but do have contingency measures in place.

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