ph-pandemic-preparedness

Pandemic Preparedness

CHALLENGES

A Pandemic is a global outbreak of an infectious disease that is unpredictable, has the ability to spread rapidly and often results in widespread illness, stressing many systems and services, with potentially devastating results:

  • The World Bank estimates an influenza outbreak could cost in excess of $800 billion.
  • The WHO estimates the next pandemic could kill between 2 and 7 million people worldwide.
  • Historic evidence from previous pandemics shows that up to 25% of the population of an affected country will be infected.

While pandemics occur for several reasons (pathogen mutation, transmissibility, water contamination, travel, human behaviours) they can be spread quickly through poor personal hygiene, with hands being one of the primary route for the spread of infection by respiratory viruses. Dirty hands, whether visibly or not, contaminate hard surfaces and objects leaving behind germs that can survive and infect others for up to 24 hours.

Maintaining an adequate level of hand-hygiene is an important factor in preventing the spread of infectious disease in any workplace. During a pandemic, where the risk is exacerbated, it becomes even more important as more people are likely to be infected, increasing the exposure rate and the number of people at risk.

Maintaining hand-hygiene can be challenging for all concerned and it’s often due to:

  • unconscious behaviours (touching mouth, eyes and nose without realizing);
  • lack of availability and proximity of hand-hygiene products at point of need;
  • time constraints;
  • dry, chapped or irritated skin common with winter weather;
  • assumptions that hands, not being visibly dirty, are not in need of cleaning.

Viral exposure in pandemic conditions, together with compromised hand-hygiene can contribute to avoidable costs associated with:

  • absenteeism from work due to illness;
  • reduced efficiency and mistakes at work due to employees being ill;
  • "presenteeism" - where infected employees, being at work, infect others.

Poor hand-hygiene affects more than those who don’t practice it. Those who work in the same environment or share the same facilities are equally at risk to infection if hand-hygiene is not executed at critical times to prevent the spread of disease causing germs.

In order to be prepared for a pandemic and that which comes with it, inclusion and provision of hand-hygiene supplies is an essential part of the plan. Failure to be prepared could have a detrimental outcome for any business.

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SOLUTION

The Orbel™ Instant Hand Sanitizer Applicator

The Orbel™ is a portable hand sanitizer reservoir and applicator that conveniently dispenses highly effective hand sanitizer by way of a swipe of a hand. Its portability and ease of use makes it a convenient and accessible solution, enabling employees to maintain good hand-hygiene irrespective of activity type, whilst preventing loss in productivity.

The Orbel™ is available with a highly effective hand sanitizer (ethyl-alcohol or water-based formulation) that can kill and neutralize bacteria responsible for viruses present across a range of workplaces. Within any given workplace, numerous respiratory and gastrointestinal pathogens will be present but with practised use of the Orbel™ applicator, maintaining health and wellbeing is just a hand motion away.

The Orbel™ applicator not only saves time and protects workers from the spread of infection, it:

  • can contribute to an increase in work performance and productivity;
  • can contribute to the reduction and cost of absenteeism due to illness. Reports estimate that absenteeism costs the US economy alone some $227 billion a year due to lost productivity associated with illness;
  • demonstrates commitment to employee health and wellbeing and forming the cornerstone of any workplace wellness program;
  • complements existing hand-hygiene protocols;
  • habituates good hand-hygiene practice;
  • reduces costs associated with illness to employees;
  • significantly improves employer health and safety compliance regimes;
  • is cost effective when measured by ROI.

The CDC consistently states that hand-hygiene is considered as the single most effective means of preventing the spread of infection. With the Orbel™ instant hand sanitizer applicator, a convenient and fitting addition to any pandemic planning regime, preventing the spread of infection and increasing hand-hygiene compliance during times of increased exposure has never been easier. Studies show frequent and effective hand-hygiene cut the risk of viral induced respiratory infections by up to 45%.

With the Orbel™ Instant Hand Sanitizer Applicator increasing hand-hygiene compliance efficiently, reducing infections, saving money and minimizing the impact of a pandemic to your business has never been easier. 
 

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 to make the Orbel™ Instant Hand Sanitizer Applicator part of your pandemic plan.
 No workplace can afford to be without it.

 

 For further reading, consult the References section.

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PANDEMIC PLANNING

Pandemic Planning

There is now a significant increase in awareness of pandemic potential and the importance of being prepared in times of crisis. Failure to prepare could have a detrimental outcome for your business including potentially breaching an employer’s duty of care in providing a safe and healthy working environment for its employees.

Advanced planning includes:

  • developing infection control plans to determine who is at risk of exposure and the control methods (e.g. respirators, gloves, cleaning products, etc.) that will be used for protection.
  • developing business continuity plans to identify and address core people and skills; establishing a pandemic planning team; planning for staff absences; considering effects of supply shortages; and considering human resources issues re: duty of care.
  • developing health and safety policies and plans for pandemic situations.
  • training of workers to recognise symptoms and to take adequate measures to prevent the spread of infection and cross contamination.

There are several control methods businesses can include in their planning for a pandemic, including vaccines and antiviral medication. Non-medical interventions, like better personal hygiene, have also been shown to cut the risk of infection.

Better personal hygiene in the workplace consists of:

  • issuing all employees with Orbel™ applicators of highly effective instant hand sanitizer that can be used at the point of need.
  • covering one’s mouth when coughing or sneezing (cough into sleeve, shirt or use disposable tissues).
  • frequent and effective hand hygiene - washing hands well and frequently and/or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • use of disposable tissues, and disposing of these carefully and promptly.
  • cleaning hard surfaces frequently.
  • avoiding non-essential travel and crowds.
  • providing employees with access to masks and gloves for use on a voluntary basis.

While it is true flu viruses generally do not survive well on hands and surfaces, public health authorities are in no doubt that both hands and surfaces can play a significant role in their transmission. In studies involving almost every population group, including hospitals and the military, frequent and effective hand-hygiene has been shown to cut the risk of viral-induced respiratory infections (bird/avian flu are both respiratory viruses) by up to 45%.

Numerous outlines and checklists have been created for businesses to follow when setting up a pandemic plan. A common ingredient in these programs is identification of hand hygiene products such as soap and sanitizers as well as tissues and receptacles for their disposal at all business locations.

Implementing infection control practices in a workplace can break the chain of infection and minimise illness in the office, creating a better working environment.

While pandemics are unpredictable, most experts agree that it is inevitable that the world will face another influenza pandemic. Having a plan in place will help minimise the impact on businesses and protect the health and wellbeing of employees. 

Contact us to make the Orbel™ Instant Hand Sanitizer Applicator part of your pandemic plan.