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32 C H A P T E R 6 When faced with a disease outbreak with many unknowns and a work setting that provides greater potential to contract the disease, ensuring that a sufficient and healthy workforce exists to support the organizationâs needs presents many challenges. This section is intended to provide those involved in transportation emergency challenges the tools to identify and address the issues associated with workforce protection and management during an infectious dis- ease outbreak. In addition, a workforce checklist is provided in Chapter 7 (see Exhibit 25). Staffing It is very likely during a pandemic that normal staffing routines will need to be changed due to one or more complications such as: â¢ Widespread absenteeism, possibly extending for months â¢ Change in staffing patterns due to changes in services â¢ Fear of exposure to infection (to both self and family) â¢ Increased staffing resources required in order to address new tasks caused by pandemic (e.g., more stringent cleaning of transit vehicles) â¢ Temporary reassignments to essential functions â¢ Fatalities in the workforce â¢ High levels of stress and anxiety â¢ Workersâ compensation claims for illness and stress Human Resources While organizations generally tout their workforce as being their most valuable asset, it is during emergencies when those statements are most put to the test. In a pandemic, worker safety and providing a healthy and safe workplace must be the highest priority for transportation organizations to maintain ample human resources. Regardless of the number of employees and the employer/employee arrangement (e.g., union, non-union, full-time, part-time, salaried, hourly), human resource policies must be in place prior to a pandemic in order to set clear expectations for both the organization and employees. Workforce This chapter outlines the process for identifying and addressing potential workforce challenges during a pandemic. Exhibits in this Chapter 25 Workforce Checklist 26 Key Family Preparedness Activities in Support of a Pandemic 27 Additional Resources for Workforce Preparedness
Workforce 33 Questions to consider when forming human resource policies include: â¢ Ability of staff to perform nontraditional essential job functions safely and effectively â¢ How to address refusal to do work based on concern for personal safety â¢ Needs for reasonable accommodation â¢ Compliance with standards associated with tasks (e.g., respiratory protection) Family Preparedness Family preparedness is instrumental to ensuring that a healthy staff is avail- able and prepared to work during a pandemic. Organizations should encour- age their employees to discuss and prepare for emergencies within their family unit to help ensure their sustainability and that of the transportation organiza- tion (see Exhibit 26). Organizations can encourage employees to prepare for pandemics and other emergencies by providing easy-to-use documents and by incorporating family preparedness into existing training and safety-themed activities (see Exhibit 27). When possible and with appropriate privacy protections, organizations should try to identify and assess how the impact of school/daycare/adult care closures and other employee needs may impact the availability of employees during a pandemic. Transportation organizations may want to institute a family hotline, which serves as a direct and secure way for family members to be able to contact transportation workers. Actions for all family members â¢Encourage family members to wash their hands often with soap and water â¢Limit contact when possible around sick people â¢Cover the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing â¢If one does not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the sleeve and not into hands What to do when sick â¢Plan to stay home for at least 10 days when sick during a pandemic ï¬u to prevent spreading it to others and allowing one time to heal â¢Determine who will take care of children or dependent adults if one is sick and share that plan with them Supplies and plans to have on hand â¢Have basic, over the counter health supplies such as a thermometer, tissues, and fever reducing medicine â¢Have a current list of emergency phone numbers â¢Determine who will take care of children and dependent adults in the case of school or daycare closures â¢Make alternate plans for caring for children, dependent adults and/or pets in the case of longer work shifts Exhibit 26. Key family preparedness activities in support of a pandemic. Exhibit 25. Workforce checklist. This tool is included on page 50 of Chapter 7. Purpose: Provide a checklist of workforce-related actions transportation agencies should address during the planning phase for pandemics. This checklist is designed to provide a starting point and is not exhaustive of all possible actions. Directions: Use the chart to plot progress.
34 A Guide for Public Transportation Pandemic Planning and Response Exhibit 27. Additional resources for workforce preparedness. Continuity of Operations (COOP) Planning Guidelines for Transportation Agencies A comprehensive guide on how to identify essential functions (in coordination with developing a COOP) can be found in the NCHRP Report 525, Volume 8: Continuity of Operations (COOP) Planning Guidelines for Transportation Agencies. The worksheets provided at the end of that guide provide a detailed process, examples, and forms for identifying essential functions Access the document online at: http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrp_rpt_525v8.pdf Developing Partnerships between Transportation Agencies and the Disability and Underrepresented Communities TCRP Research Results Digest 107: Developing Partnerships between Transportation Agencies and the Disability and Underrepresented Communities provides guidance on addressing the needs of special needs populations. Access the document online at: http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/tcrp/tcrp_rrd_107.pdf Family Preparedness Materials The CDC has a series of posters and ï¬yers designed to aid with family preparedness. Access posters online at: http://www.cdc.gov/ï¬u/pdf/freeresources/family/spread-poster-print.pdf http://www.cdc.gov/ï¬u/pdf/freeresources/family/p_spreadpopcorn_print.pdf Access ï¬yers online at: http://www.cdc.gov/ï¬u/pdf/freeresources/updated/everyday_preventive.pdf http://www.cdc.gov/ï¬u/pdf/freeresources/updated/ï¬uandyou_upright.pdf Access a ï¬u home care brochure online at: http://www.cdc.gov/ï¬u/pdf/freeresources/updated/inï¬uenza_ï¬u_home care_guide.pdf