According to the Center for Consumer Freedom, the odds of getting mad cow disease are about the same as winning the Powerball lottery and getting struck by lightning on the same day. But the specter of infectious disease in your facility isn’t one to dismiss lightly. The direct costs of the SARS outbreak are estimated at $20 billion to $30 billion; indirect costs such as lost business opportunities and operational disruption will amount to two or three times that much. There’s no need to panic, but it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye out for unusual symptoms among your employees and prepare for all possible outcomes. Cutter Consortium, a consulting firm, suggests some questions to ask yourself:
- What will your workers do if they have sick children?
- What will your company do if the government imposes quarantines?
- How does the quarantine affect your sick-leave policies?
- Are you prepared to shut down your operation for several weeks?
- What if disease or quarantine affects your offshore outsourcing sites?
- Do you have an official business contingency plan?