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Swine flu

General advice for employers for the current situation

Employers and employees should always practice good personal hygiene measures - use a disposable tissue to control coughs/sneezes, dispose of it appropriately and wash your hands before eating, drinking etc. In addition at the current time you should:

For further information about swine flu please visit the Health Protection Agency (HPA) website.

Use of face masks

The number of people in public places who are displaying symptoms is likely to be limited. Therefore it should not be necessary for workers to wear facemasks routinely when in contact with the general public.

For certain occupations and activities where there is an increased likelihood of exposure (e.g. health and social care workers), HSE's guidance is that fluid-repellent surgical face masks offer a barrier to minimise contact with the mouth and nose but do not offer protection against aerosols.

For protection against aerosols a FFP3 mask should be used. A filtering facepiece (FFP3) device is a mask which is certified to the PPE Directive. It provides a high level of filtering capability and face fit.

Assessing the types of control measures needed within the workplace

DH, working with HSE and HPA, has produced guidance for businesses in the eventuality of a flu pandemic. This is available at Department of Health website: Pandemic flu guidance for businesses and contains advice on facemasks and good hygiene, as well as a risk assessment matrix and checklists.

Further information

The Department of Health and Health Protection Agency (HPA) are the lead agencies on swine flu.

The primary online information channels for swine flu information in England are:

If you are an employer and require specific information on how to deal with swine flu, please see the following links for advice:

Updated 2012-11-19