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When threats loom, follow officials’ advice

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in Human Resources

Q. In light of the recent anthrax attacks, we are concerned about the potential health risks to our employees from handling incoming mail—and the potential legal risks to us. What should we be doing to protect them and ourselves? —V.B., Ohio

A. Legally, you'd be well advised to follow all guidance issued by public health and safety officials. Then document your actions. To keep employees safe, instruct them to follow all mail-handling guidelines issued by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Give them information on how to spot suspicious parcels. (The USPS offers a free downloadable poster on its Web site, www.usps.gov, that shows what to look for.) Offer rubber gloves and masks to employees who handle mail. Finally, if you believe your workplace could be contaminated, have it tested.

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