The University of Western Australia is committed to providing employees, students, contractors and visitors with a safe and healthy environment for work and study.
The University recognises that employees, students (medical, dental and others), contractors and visitors working or studying at the University, may, as part of their work or study, be at a potential risk of exposure to infectious diseases.
These guidelines describe responsibilities related to immunisation requirements at the University of Western Australia and associated responsibilities. The University recognises its responsibility to make available appropriate immunisation to employees potentially at risk of exposure to vaccine preventable diseases.
For the purposes of this policy, infectious diseases include those that are caused by the exposure to blood or body fluid products. Some infectious diseases are preventable via appropriate immunisation.
The areas in which there is an increased risk include:
- childcare staff
- first aiders
- students (particularly medical and dental students)
- staff who handle human blood and body tissue
- animal handlers / laboratory personnel working with animals
- staff and students who handle bats
- grounds staff, cleaners, plumbers and security staff where there is a risk of needlestick injury, exposure to blood or body fluids
- travellers to developing countries.
The University promotes continual assessment of the risk of exposure to infectious diseases, prompt identification of employees, students (particularly medical and dental students), contractors and visitors potentially at risk and provision of relevant information and training.
- Occupation-based recommendations / testing
The University will provide, as appropriate, education and information on infection control for employees, students and others particularly in areas where a risk has been identified.
Deans and Heads of School / Centre / Administrative Unit (in their area of control)
- All supervisory personnel, employees, students and others are aware of and act upon their responsibilities in accordance with this policy, associated University policies and legislative requirements.
- Non-immune persons are encouraged to be vaccinated.
- Those who decline to be vaccinated are advised of any health risks related to their work or course of study. Employees and students who decline vaccination must sign an acknowledgement form. There are separate forms for employees (required) and students (for whom completing this form is optional).
- Risk assessments are conducted of persons who decline vaccination to determine if any alteration to their work or course of study is required to reduce the risk of infection.
- Providing financial assistance for employees for an immunisation course and the blood test as required.
- Maintaining confidential records of immunisations at least at a School / Administrative Unit level and ensuring that reminders are sent when required.
Supervisors (in their area of control and as relevant)
- All individuals follow this policy, associated University policies and legislative requirements.
- Appropriate information, instruction, training and supervision of persons under their control.
- Principles of Standard Precaution (in accordance with the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC); 'Infection Control in the Health Care Setting. Guidelines for the Prevention of Transmission of Infectious Diseases’ and safe work instructions are adopted by themselves, employees, students and others into work practices.
- Evidence of vaccinations and other documentation is provided to the School or Administrative Unit.
- Appropriate information and medical intervention is provided as required prior to and in the event of an exposure.
Staff, students and others
- Complying with this policy, associated University and local procedures and work instructions.
- Contacting their supervisor or course coordinator for advice if unable or not willing to be vaccinated.
- Advising their consulting doctor of any pre-existing medical conditions to ensure that they can be vaccinated safely.
- Keeping a record of their vaccinations and supplying evidence of this as required.
- Providing their supervisor or course coordinator and School or Administrative Unit with evidence of immunisation(s).
- Providing receipts for reimbursement where applicable.
- Reporting to their supervisor, course coordinator and the University (using the Confidential Incident / Injury / Near Miss Report Form) if exposed to an infectious agent.
- Not putting at risk the health of others in the event of becoming aware of being a carrier of an infectious disease.
Safety and Health (in their area of control)
- Assisting Deans and Heads of School or Administrative Units and Supervisors to implement this policy and for providing advice as required.
University Medical Centre
- Providing relevant immunisation procedures and advice as required.
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Occupation-based recommendations / testing
The University recommends that all employees, students and others at risk of exposure or at risk of exposing others to infectious diseases are aware of their immune status.
In addition to the general recommendations, members of certain occupations are strongly advised to follow the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Immunisation Schedule (see below). Most immunisations are available from either the University Medical Centre or from many community general practitioners. Specialist immunisations are available from The Travel Doctor and the Health Department of Western Australia (details below).
- Childcare staff
- Hepatitis A, MMR (Measles-Mumps-Rubella),Pertussis and Varicella (Chickenpox)
- First aiders
- Hepatitis B
- Medical, dental and nursing staff and students
- Hepatitis B, MMR (Measles-Mumps-Rubella) and Varicella (Chickenpox). Consider vaccination for other infections that may be encountered, such as Hepatitis A, influenza and testing for Tuberculosis
Refer: UWA Faculty of Dentistry and Medicine Infection Control Policy.
- Staff who handle human blood and body tissue
- Hepatitis B
- Animal handlers/laboratory workers with animals
- Tetanus, Rabies and Q Fever depending on duties
- Staff and students who handle bats
- Bats (both flying foxes and microbats). ABL (Australian Bat Lyssa virus) using rabies vaccine. Recommendations: two-yearly antibody titres
- Hepatitis A if exposed to raw sewage
- Grounds staff, cleaners, plumbers and security staff where there is a risk of needlestick injury, blood or body fluids
- Hepatitis B
Tetanus recommended if they sustain an open wound injury while at work
- Travellers to developing countries on official University business
- Staff and students travelling overseas should seek medical advice at least six to eight weeks before departure
Laboratory personnel should seek advice specific to micro-organisms (bacteria, viruses and fungi) that they may encounter.
Vaccination against the following infectious agents is available through the University Medical Centre.
- Diphtheria / Tetanus
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- MMR (Measles-Mumps-Rubella)
- Meningococcal Type C
- Varicella (Chickenpox).
Vaccinations available at The Travel Doctor, Ph: (+61 8) 9386 4511, 45 Stirling Highway, Nedlands, and the Health Department of Western Australia, Ph (+61 8) 9321 1312 are:
- Q Fever
- Japanese Encephalitis
- Yellow Fever.
Immunisations can also be arranged or provided by general practitioners.
Where immunisation is necessary due to the risk of exposure or exposing others to infectious diseases, the cost of immunisation of employees shall be met by the School or Administrative Unit as long as the immunisation is undertaken. The cost of immunisation of students shall be at the discretion of the Heads of School or Administrative Unit.
The University recognises that employees, students and others have a right to:
- choose whether or not to be vaccinated
- choose whether or not to disclose their immune status.
Neither employees, students nor others are required to disclose information relating to their health status except as required under the Western Australian Health Act 1911-1984.
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The immunisation provider is legally required to maintain confidential records of all immunisations and should be advised immediately of any adverse reactions from such immunisations.
Evidence of immunisation should be provided by the employee, student or other to the supervisor or course coordinator and to the relevant School or Administrative Unit.
The School or Administrative Unit is required to maintain confidential information on those employees, students and others who have had immunisations as part of their work or study and for providing reminders as required. It is recommended that a central file at a School or Administrative Unit level be maintained for employees, students and others.
Acknowledgement of Declined Vaccination forms should be completed and retained for those who decline to be immunised.
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