Occupational Vaccines

Some jobs bring workers into close contact with a range of different disease causing pathogens that the general public would not encounter. These are occupational risks that are addressed through occupational vaccination. Employers and employees both bear responsibility for ensuring that occupational immunisation is pursued to an adequate standard.

What occupations can involve exposure to disease?

The most significant example of occupations vulnerable to particular diseases is that of health and social care workers. This includes nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, and virtually anyone working in a care capacity. These people are vulnerable to a whole body of different diseases, and moreover, they can transmit these diseases to vulnerable populations if not immunised.

Other examples of workplaces where there is a risk of carrying or transmitting infection include laboratory workers who come into close contact with samples harbouring potentially dangerous pathogens that would not be a concern in the wider world. In these cases, safety procedures are extremely important, and where necessary, employers and employees are responsible for determining whether vaccinations are necessary.

What Kind of Conditions Pose an Occupational Hazard?

There are a number of different occupational diseases that pose a risk to employees in the UK, and these include diseases like tuberculosis (often abbreviated to TB), measles, mumps, rubella, varicella (chickenpox), hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, Hib, and polio.

It is an employer’s responsibility to assess the potential risk of exposure to these diseases and meet the necessary health and safety guidelines. This is a legal responsibility and is taken very seriously as some of these diseases can have very serious consequences. Employers are also legally bound to provide their employees with any information or training they need to minimise their exposure to disease. It is down to the employee to make sure that they abide by safety regulations and follow any immunisation instructions.

Employers and employees can consult The Occupational Health Service (OHS) with regards to any necessary immunisations. The OHS is an authority on the use of occupational vaccines, and specialise in preparing vaccination programmes for workplaces that need them.

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