Infection Control and Immunisation

Overview

Infectious diseases can be transferred from one infected person to another and are a significant causeImmunisation of lost productivity for a business. According to the Wellness in Workplace Survey Report 2015, New Zealanders are most likely to be absent from work due to illness or injury unrelated to the workplace, with caring for a family member or other dependent the second most common cause of absence.

Promoting immunisation and good infection control measures within your workplace can prevent a wide range of serious infectious diseases.  Workplaces may also choose to consider ways of promoting immunisation and good infection control to whanau of staff. If whanau remain healthy this may in turn reduce domestic sick leave taken by staff.

To find out why Infection Control and Immunisation is important in your workplace view click here. People can sometimes be misinformed about influenza, click here to get the right facts about influenza, including a myth buster section on frequently heard myths.

Incorporating Infection Control and Immuisation into your Action and Evaluation Plan

Your efforts to support staff to reduce the spread of infectious disease and create a safe and hygienic working environment must consider a multi-level approach to ensure it is effective and sustainable.  A multi-level approach involves considering what is available at each of the following levels:

  • Organisational (Policies and procedures)
  • Environmental (Infrastructure and facilities)
  • Individual (Opportunities, information and training)

See the following sections for examples of how to address Infection Control and Immunisation at each of these levels.

Organisational Change

Organisational change ensures the workplace’s policies, practices and culture support Infection Control and Immunisation.  Examples of what you can do in your workplace include:

Develop an infection control and/or immunisation policy, or include in a standard employee wellbeing policy, consider including:

  • Management of infectious illness, hand hygiene, drinking water, catering and food safety
  • Implementation of infection control strategies for fundraising events and initiatives
  • Promoting key messages of infection control and immunisation
  • Monitoring sick leave taken by staff and reasons for it (e.g. employee sick leave or carers leave)
  • Encouraging staff to get themselves and their whānau immunised
  • Subsidise vaccinations for illnesses likely to affect your employees, such as the influenza vaccine
  • Encouraging staff to stay away from work when they are unwell and support them in managing workload to avoid pressure to work through illness
  • Flexible work options where possible to allow employees who are fit to work but potentially infectious to work from home and prevent spread of the illness

Encourage managers to lead by example for infection control and immunisation

Include whānau and wider community in workplace wellness events and activities

Environmental Change

Creating a healthy working environment can encourage Infection Control and Immunisation. Examples of what you can do in your workplace include:

Provision of facilities for hand hygiene (e.g. soap and hand washing facilities, alcohol hand gel, single us hand towels)                                                       

Provision of facilities to maintain a clean environment (e.g. mops, buckets, cleaners)

Provide appropriate toilets, hand wash basins and sanitary facilities for the size of your workforce

Keep items such as tissues and keyboard wipes available in the office for employees to use

Encourage staff to eat food away from work areas

Subsidised flu vaccines or encourage staff to receive vaccines for illnesses which may affect them

Individual Change

Individual change focuses on opportunities for knowledge and skill development to support Infection Control and Immunisation.  Examples of what you can do in your workplace include:

Provide information sessions or resources to support knowledge or skill development around infection control and immunisation, such as:                            

Community Links and Partnerships

To access a variety of useful services and resources relating to Infection Control and Immunisation see our Community Links page.

Page updated 13 Feb 2018