Preparing Your Workplace for an Epidemic

In late 2019, the suspicious occurrence of several pneumonia cases of unknown origin in Wuhan City, Hubei Province drew the attention of Chinese authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO). By January 7th 2020, Chinese authorities confirmed that a novel coronavirus, temporarily named 2019-nCoV, was responsible for the pneumonia cases. As of January 30, 2020, 7,818 cases of 2019-nCoV had been confirmed by the WHO, including 170 deaths and 82 travel-associated cases have been confirmed outside of China (WHO 2020). Similar to prior epidemics like SARS (below) or influenza pandemics (Table 1), 2019-nCoV has the potential for significant business disruption. In the United States, businesses should begin preparations now for 2019-nCOV and future potential infectious disease threats in view of a regulatory obligation under federal law to provide a “reasonably safe” workplace. 


Cardno ChemRisk scientists, Natalie Suder Egnot and Alexander Sundermann provide information on preparing your workplace for an epidemic, infectious disease workplace responsibility, and developing your workplace preparedness action plan here.