Saturday, June 22, 2013

Preparing a Businesses Pandemic Plan


Author: ken wilson
Preparing a Businesses Pandemic Plan
Plans are nothing, planning is everything” - Dwight D Eisenhower
Suddenly, the word “pandemic” is everywhere. Businesses are nervously looking for ways to deal with the PANDEMIC. "It is just a matter of time!" warns Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, of the forthcoming global flu pandemic.
The H1N1 Swine flu bears similarities to the H1N1 virus of the 1918-19 pandemic and has spread throughout the US and world. The World Health Organization has raised the warning level to Phase 5 - widespread human infection - one step below a full influenza pandemic, signaling that it's time for all companies to prepare.
Quoting HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, "Those expecting the federal government to ride in and come to their rescue are going to be sorely disappointed.” “Within 16 weeks of the theoretical Thai outbreak, 92 million Americans would be infected.” The 1918 pandemic killed more people in first 6 months of the pandemic than were killed in all of World War 1 - 5 out of every 100 people.
The CDC estimates that over 200,000 people would die in a moderate pandemic and cost the US economy $100 billion; a worst case scenario would cost the economy about $450 billion with over 1.9 million deaths – 1 person in every 150. The Lowry Institute International Policy estimates a worst case scenario would result in over “140 million deaths world-wide and a $4.4 trillion dollar impact upon the world economy” – plunging the world into a global depression.
How will companies feel the impact?
  • High absenteeism for extended periods – sick employees; employees staying home to nurse sick children or spouses; others staying home to avoid getting sick. Plan for up to 50% of your employees being absent -25% sick and 25% staying at home.
  • The influenza is expected to last 18 to 24 months and come in three waves - each wave with a different level of severity, lasting for a month or more. Waves can start at anytime of the year – with little advanced notice (days);
  • Your suppliers may not be able to support you fully - if at all.
  • You may lose customers because you can’t supply them.
  • Sales may decrease as demand for your products or services decline.
  • Transport systems would be disrupted.
  • Lawsuits centered on working conditions (employees getting sick at work, failure to meet OSHA or Sarbanes-Oxley requirements, failure to prepare, failure to fulfill contracts, etc.) may result.

What can companies do to prepare?
Develop a Business Pandemic Preparedness and Recovery Plan based on the CDC’s worst case scenario with trigger points for a mild or moderate event. Use the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Pandemic Alert Level as a trigger for your plan. (
Disaster Recovery or Business Continuity Plans focus on short term impact to physical assets – plants and equipment - a pandemic flu targets human resources.
An effective Business Pandemic Plan includes:
1. The Formation of a Pandemic Crisis Manager and Teams.
2. Communications Plan -One of the greatest risks is panic – employees, customers and suppliers.
3. Health Education Plan -A comprehensive employee wellness and illness prevention program is vital for minimizing thetransmission within your company.
4. Essential Function/Service Plan -Identify the skeleton operations needed during the pandemic. Develop procedures tosystematically reduce or shut down operations not vital to the core functions. Be sure toaddress your supply chain and key/critical suppliers.
5. Recovery Plan -Guided by your essential services plan, systematically resume operations in reverse orderbased on your capabilities and the needs of your customers.
6. Test your plan.
Test your plan and train company personnel in its use.
This strategy is designed to minimize the disruption to your business and to give you a competitive advantage over those who failed to plan.
Article Source:
About the Author
Ken Wilson, CMC, has over 23 years of practical consulting experience in business-to-business strategy, marketing and management: helping companies prepare for a pandemic. Find out more about us at or contact Ken directly by e-mail at or phone at 763.476.2216.

No comments:

Post a Comment