Seeking help to manage swine flu scare by ProQuest


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									                                                                                                                                                Steven J. Dundas
Seeking help to manage swine flu scare
Advisers counsel businesses on ill workers                            Verplanck, its president, warned against overreacting “because
                                                                      that can cause more problems than under-reacting.” She said
as medical suppliers ramp up production                               many banks and other companies have redundancies in their
                                                                      systems following Sept. 11, 2001, and have also become comfort-
                         BY SHANKAR P.                                able with telecommuting. “Most of my staff would stay and work
AS SUSPECTED CASES of swine flu mount, businesses in New Jer-         out of home should there be an emergency,” she said.
sey have a lot more to worry about than providing shots or distrib-         Companies of all sizes are realizing their business is too crit-
uting masks and hand sanitizers among their employees.                ical to protect, even if it doesn’t fall within the 18 “critical infra-
      Companies also are grappling with their rules for employee      structure sectors” identified by the federal government, said                                Cantel Medical Corp., of Little Falls, is seeing an increase in
attendance, paid and unpaid leave, and telecommuting, their           Matt Conlon, vice president of market development for Cantel,                                business for its hand sanitizers, flu defense kits and facemasks.
legal advisers said. Elsewhere, the swine flu scare is bringing in    who said business is “spiking.”
big business, as with Cantel Medical Corp., a Little Falls-based            Cantel subsidiary Crosstex, in Hauppauge, N.Y., manufactures                           medicines — for each of their workers, a combined total of
maker of infection prevention and control products.                   masks, and could make an additional 7 million to 8 million face-                             about 10,000 employees, Conlon said. Each kit costs $15 and
      One company asked Alan Model, a partner in the Newark           masks a month over its current production capacity, Conlon said.                             covers an employee’s needs for a week; employees would each
offices of Littler Mendelson — a San Francisco-based law firm               The company is one of eight makers of facemasks in the Unit-                           get a dozen kits to cover as many weeks — the expected length
specializing in employment and labor law — what to do about a         ed States, who together supply about 10 percent of the country’s                             of the pandemic wave.
worker returning from a vacation in Mexico. “I advised the com-       needs; the rest are imported from places like Asia, Conlon said.                                    Wells Fargo/Wachovia is sharing information with its 6,300
pany to ask the employee to stay at home for seven days” as paid            “The federal government’s concern is that if a pandemic                                employees across the state on things they could do to minimize
time off, he said. “Employers need to be flexible.”                   occurs, foreign countries won’t allow shipments” of masks, Con-                              risks and take preventive measures, said spokeswoman Fran
      Alan Lesnevich, a partner in the law firm of Fisher &    
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