University Policy Statement OHS 1/04
The first priority in preventing occupationally acquired infection is appropriate controls in the workplace. Detailed guidance on this is available in the University Guidance Policy S5/09, ‘Biological Health and Safety’, issued by the Safety Office.
Under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 1999, (Schedule 3), organisations are required to offer immunisations to individuals who may be exposed to pathogens at work where an effective vaccine is available.
Effective immunisations are available for only some, and not all, pathogens. Immunisations are not a substitute for good laboratory or other work practice.
As with other health surveillance interventions, individuals are not obliged to accept the University’s offer of immunisation. However, in some circumstances, employment may be dependent on acceptance, for example: people working with badgers may be required to demonstrate immunity to TB, and medical students should demonstrate immunity to Hepatitis B, TB and Rubella. Such requirements should be detailed in job descriptions and internal departmental documentation.
Categories of staff where the risk assessment indicates they should be considered for immunisation:
- individuals potentially exposed at work to any pathogens where an effective immunisation is available (e.g. yellow fever, Japanese B encephalitis, tick-borne encephalitis, TB etc.)
- individuals potentially exposed to human blood/tissue
- individuals working with primates
- individuals working with animals in quarantine
- travellers on University business
- medical students
- some Surveyor’s staff
- security patrolmen
- parks staff
- farm workers
This list is not intended to be exhaustive: departmental risk assessments should identify groups who may be at risk at work from pathogens.
It is the responsibility of departments to inform the Occupational Health Service about the individuals working in these groups by ensuring that they complete and send a Health Surveillance Registration form to the Occupational Health Service, where appropriate health surveillance, including determining appropriate immunisations to be offered, can be instituted.
Heads of Departments must, so far as is reasonably practicable, ensure that individuals travelling on University business take advice from the Occupational Health Service about potential health risks associated with their travel. This should be in good time so that any recommended immunisations can be given and/or prophylactic drugs prescribed.
Travel on University business includes, for example, working abroad, field trips, conferences etc. It does not include travelling on college business which is the responsibility of individual colleges. The Occupational Health Service should be contacted for advice if it is unclear whether the individual is travelling on business.