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Swine Flu advice to members

October 10, 2009

Download TUC swine flu advice here: http://files.me.com/mark.taylorbatty/xis1b6

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From John Bamford – UCU Health and Safety Advisor, for distribution to branches and members:

Pandemic Influenza

At present UCU representatives, along with other unions on campus should ensure that their employer is implementing the early stages of the action plan for dealing with any future pandemic, and is well-prepared for the next stages. We also need to ensure that employers are putting effective measures are in place to reduce the spread of the virus. This is encouraging proper hygiene through good washing; using tissues to prevent the virus becoming airborne (we suggested, for example, that employers might provide boxes of tissues in classrooms for students to use) and making sure that anyone with any possible symptoms of flu does not come to work until cleared by their GP.

What is absolutely certain is that all employers should by now have a plan in place to deal with a possible outbreak of pandemic flu in the future. In drawing-up that plan, they should have involved UCU and the other campus unions.  Where UCU members work in a third parties premises as part of a contracting arrangement, (e.g. prisons) their employing college or university should have been informed by the employer who has contracted the college, and they in turn should have consulted with their UCU representatives.

The plan should obviously address issues relevant to the student body, as well as staff.  The plan should cover the issuing of general information about the plan to staff and students; what precautions are being taken to protect staff against possible infection and the spread of infection; general advice on hygiene; advice to staff and students who feel unwell; and how sickness absence will be handled.  It may be that the authorities decide to close an institution if an outbreak occurs – such circumstances should be included in the plan, as should any procedures for re-opening.  UCU recommends that all campus unions need to be involved at every stage – so for example, being part of any monitoring body or emergency committee that is in charge during an outbreak.

The HSE has congratulated the TUC on the quality and thoroughness of its guidance.  UCU commends this guidance to all reps and branches – please use it to inform your action at local level.  The current version can be downloaded from the TUC website at http://www.tuc.org.uk/extras/fluguidance.pdf This document also contains hot links to the guidance issued by the HSE, Department of Health, Faculty of Occupational Medicine and the Health Protection Agency.

Regards

John Bamford

UCU Health & Safety Advice

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