Occupational Vaccinations

Many employees are exposed to hazards and risks. Vaccinations can provide protection against some of these. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 you as an employer have a legal duty to protect the health of your employees. Under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) employers have a legal duty to assess the risk of infection for employees and others affected by your work. When the risk is known, you need to take suitable precautions to protect the health of the employee.

How can Acorn Occupational Health help you?

As a leading provider of Occupational Health services across the UK, Acorn Occupational Health will assist clients with immunisation programs, policies and advice. Our experienced Occupational Health Advisors aim to deliver a cost effective service designed to meet the needs of your business.

Occupations that are at a higher risk from Blood Borne viruses

  • Healthcare: nurses, physicians, hospital workers, care homes, nurseries, dentistry, pathology workers, chiropody
  • First aid
  • Emergency services
  • Needle exchange services
  • Embalming/crematorium/mortuary work
  • Laboratory technicians
  • Council workers: park workers, street cleaners, refuse disposal
  • Prison and detention services
  • Tattooing and body piercing
  • Social services
  • Plumbing and sewage process workers
  • Vehicle repair and recovery
  • Military
  • Education
  • Hairdressers and beauticians

Risk Assessment

The need for immunisation should be determined by risk assessment as required under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002. As an employer you need to assess the risk of the employee coming into contact with biological agents that may cause ill health, the severity of the illness should infection occur and the control measures already in place.

 What are the benefits to you?

  • On-site immunisation programme
  • Minimal loss of working time
  • Compliance under current legislation
  • Reduced risk and cost
  • Improve profitability
  • Healthier workforce

Influenza

Influenza is a highly contagious virus which spreads quickly and is capable of causing great disruption in the workplace through sickness absence and impaired employee performance.The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends the strains of influenza to be included for vaccination each year.

The optimum time for influenza vaccination is late September to early December.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A virus causes an infection of the liver. The virus is usually transmitted through person to person contact, or from contaminated food, drink or water.

Employees who are at a higher risk of contracting Hepatitis A are:

  • Sewage/Effluent workers
  • Refuge workers
  • Overseas travellers

Immunisation for Hepatitis A consists of a single dose for primary vaccination.

A booster dose at 6-12 months following the primary vaccination previously given as a single dose or combined vaccine product, gives a substantial increase in the antibody titre and will give immunity beyond 20 years.

Typhoid

Transmission of Typhoid Fever is primarily oral following ingestion of contaminated food or water.

Employees who are at a higher risk of contracting Typhoid are:

  • Sewage/Effluent workers
  • Overseas travellers

Immunisation for typhoid consists of a single dose to be administered at least 2 weeks prior to exposure.

A booster dose is required every 3 years for continued exposure.

Combined Hepatitis A & Typhoid Vaccine

Combined vaccination for Hepatitis A and Typhoid requires a booster dose of the Typhoid at 3 years.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B immunisation is not a recognised vaccination programme for the general public. Therefore, General Practitioners are recommending employers and employees considered at risk must contact their company occupational health provider for Hepatitis B advice and immunisation.

Hepatitis B virus is transmitted through exposure to infected blood and body fluids. The incidence of acute infection is high amongst those with certain lifestyles or occupational risk factors.

Employees who are at a higher risk of contracting Hepatitis B are:

  • Emergency services
  • Laboratory workers
  • Healthcare workers
  • Carers e.g. caring for people with learning difficulties
  • Prison staff
  • Laboratory workers
  • Embalming/crematorium/mortuary work
  • Travellers

Immunisation for Hepatitis B consists of a course of 3 vaccines. Two vaccines with an interval of one month followed by a third injection 6 months after the first administration (0, 1, 6 months) is the usual schedule. However an accelerated regime consisting of 3 injections with an interval of one month and a fourth dose 1 year later can be used when rapid immunity is required. It is important to complete the full course of vaccination to gain immunity.

A blood test to check immunity status (titre level) is checked 6 weeks following the third vaccine. If immunity status is inadequate a booster vaccine may be advised.

A single booster is recommended in 5 years if exposure continues.

Combined Hepatitis A & B

Combined vaccines are available.

Pneumococcal (PPV23) vaccination

A single dose of the PPV23 vaccine should be considered for those at risk of frequent or continuous occupational exposure to metal fumes.

Vaccination can reduce the risk of invasive pneumococcal disease, but it should not replace the need for control measures to prevent or reduce exposure.

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