A new survey by International SOS has found that firms are concentrating on "tracking employees who travel, helping workers protect their health" rather than stockpiling protective equipment like gloves and masks in a bid to combat a possible bird flu pandemic.
The survey found that only 36 of the 100 Fortune 500 companies surveyed were taking protective steps, "Organizations with distributed, global workforces want to be as prepared as they can be for the potential of pandemic," said Dr. Myles Druckman, vice president of Medical Assistance for International SOS. "And the ability to track and manage employee travel, especially in areas of elevated risk, is central to those efforts." The H5N1 avian influenza virus has started to make an impact in the western world, but besides trying to protect employees, firms are not preparing to combat the pandemic, the survey found, "No one is sure whether avian flu will continue to progress, and while everyone hopes it will not, more and more organizations are looking at what they can do to mitigate their risk ... " Druckman said in a statement. "Any business continuity plan needs to address the issue of pandemic." Only 41 percent were stockpiling sterile masks and gloves, while 73 percent were working on employee health-risk mitigation training.