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2007 Occupational Health Policy (54 kB)









Occupational Health - Protection of Staff and Health Surveillance

Page updated 30 April 2007

Occupational Health - Protection of Staff and Health Surveillance

Key Points

Staff must report any illness which may be a risk to patients, to their manager

Sick staff (especially those with a rash) must not go to clinical areas

Staff must have pre-employment screening by Occupational Health

Know what immunisations are offered by Occupational Health and whether you are up to date


There is an obligation under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act , 1974, to take appropriate precautions when becoming aware that a patient or specimen poses a risk to others. A programme of health surveillance is offered to staff exposed to particular types of infection. An assessment by Occupational Health is an absolute requirement before commencing work. This applies to locum tenens appointments as well as to permanent staff.

Immunisation has an important role in preventing epidemics by reducing the proportion of the population susceptible to disease. However, no vaccine is 100% effective in preventing disease in an individual: for example, only about 40% of men over 45 make an adequate antibody response to hepatitis B vaccine and a proportion of those exposed may still get the disease. At best, BCG is only 85% effective in preventing tuberculosis. Therefore immunisation does not imply that other precautions to prevent infection can be relaxed. The Occupational Health Departments will review the immunisation status of new employees and will, where indicated, arrange for immunisation against tuberculosis, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, rubella and hepatitis B virus and hepatitis A virus.

Should a medical health problem be identified which interferes with an employee's ability to perform his/her duties, then this should, with permission, be discussed with management.



Immunisation Against Infectious Diseases. 1996. Department of Health, London .

Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens. Protection against blood borne infections in the workplace: HIV & hepatitis 1995 Department of Health, London .

Jefferies DJ. Viral hazards to and from healthcare workers J Hosp Infect 1995; 30 (Suppl):140-155