|Category||Health and Safety|
|Approved by||Vice-Chancellor, 24 November 2014|
|Date Policy Took Effect||24 November 2014|
|Last approved revision||31 August 2021|
|Sponsor||Human Resources Director|
|Responsible officer||Head, Health and Safety Compliance|
The purpose of this policy is to provide a safe work place for staff whose work activities include potential exposure to occupational infections where effective immunization vaccines are available.
This policy applies to all University of Otago staff.
- Biological pathogen
- An infectious agent or hazardous biological material that presents a risk or potential risk to the health of humans, animals or the environment.
- Occupational Health Records System
- IT management system for Occupational Health clinical notes and records.
- Occupational infections
- Identified potential or actual biological pathogens that are a potential source of infection due to work activities.
- The administration of antigenic material (a vaccine) to stimulate an individual’s immune system to develop immunity to a pathogen.
- University of Otago online health and safety management system.
1. Potential exposure
The potential for exposure to biological pathogens associated with the work task/environment is to be clearly identified in the hazard/risk register within Vault.
2. Vaccination availability
- Where effective immunisation vaccinations are available for potential work-related biological pathogen exposure, these will be required before the commencement of work. Vaccination is offered as a reasonably practical step under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
- New biological pathogens requiring vaccination, such as COVID‑19, will be managed according to national Ministry of Health Guidelines, and a suitable risk assessment conducted to identify areas of high risk where vaccination may be required, or highly recommended.
3. Biological pathogens training programme
Where biological pathogen exposure risks are identified, a formal training programme shall be provided to workers including the following:
- Description of the hazard/risk
- Method of transmission
- Controls to prevent transmission.
- Specifics of immunisation vaccination including reliability, side effects, test, and vaccination procedure.
- Process of consent
- Privacy and holding of records.
- Options for individuals who choose not to be vaccinated or cannot be immunised.
4. Employee consent
- A completed consent form is required prior to any vaccination.
- Individuals are not obliged to accept the University’s offer of vaccination. Where an employee chooses not to have the vaccination, an alternative hazard/risk exposure assessment with control methods must be considered to minimise the risk of exposure. Refusal to accept the vaccination will be recorded by the Occupational Health team in the occupational health recording system.
- With regard to the COVID‑19 vaccination, the attached decision-making chart will be used to assess the options for staff. Assessment of whether a work area and the work being carried out is high risk will be made in accordance with the attached:
COVID‑19 High Risk Work Risk Assessment Tool (PDF)
5. Immunisation status and records
- The immunisation status of employees will be assessed, and vaccination offered according to the level of risk associated with the work tasks and work environment.
- Records of vaccination and immunisation status must be maintained on the Employee’s occupational health file.
- Where a risk assessment identifies vaccination as a preferred control in relation to the person’s position, this will be recorded in Vault with the vaccination status recorded as yes or no.
6. Cost of vaccination
Costs associated with vaccinations required under this policy for staff will be borne by the University.
Related policies, procedures and forms
- Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and associated regulations
- Health and Safety Policy
- Biohazard Safety Manual (PDF)
- COVID‑19 high risk work risk assessment tool (PDF)
- COVID‑19 vaccination flowchart for staff (PDF)
Contact for further information
If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact:
Head, Health and Safety Compliance