Infection Control and Immunisation

Overview

Infectious diseases can be transferred from one infected person to another and include viral illnesses such as influenza, other common viruses causing influenza-like illness and colds and coughs, as well as gastroenteritis (diarrhoea and vomiting illnesses).  These can be a significant cause of lost productivity for a business.

New Zealand lost around 7.4 million working days to absence in 2018. Illness was the most common cause of absence. The direct costs of absence amounted to $1.79 billion across the economy in 2018.

Promoting good infection control measures and immunisation within your workplace can prevent a wide range of infectious diseases, including Covid-19. For Covid-19 advice and support for businesses and employees, click here 

To find out why Infection Control and Immunisation is important in your workplace click here

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

 

Immunisation

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 workplace wellbeing policy, consider including:

  • Management of infectious illness, hand hygiene, drinking water, catering and food safety
  • Workplace facilities with provision of toilets, drinking water, hand-washing facilities, eating and break facilities
  • Cleaning roster to ensure surfaces and facilities are cleaned regularly
  • 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.
Have a COVID-19 business plan
  • Have a plan for how your business can operate at the different COVID-19 alert levels
  • There is financial support available for businesses to financially support their staff to self-isolate while they either wait for a test result or until they are out of the infectious period. 
  • Consider how you can support your staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccine
  • Remove time barriers by allowing workers to get vaccinated during work hours without loss of pay or having to make the time up
  • Provide transport options to and from the vaccination locations.
  • Provide staff with accurate and reliable information and resources regarding the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Aotearoa New Zealand – some recommended resources are:
  • Ministry of Health — www.health.govt.nz 
  • Unite Against COVID-19 — www.covid19.nz 
  • Trusted information in te reo Māori and English can be found at www.karawhiua.nz 
  • The Immunisation Advisory Centre - https://covid.immune.org.nz/
  • Medsafe - www.medsafe.govt.nz/COVID-19/covid-landing.asp 
  • From your GP, pharmacist, iwi health provider or other health professional.

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 use 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 disinfect wipes available for staff to use when working in shared spaces 

Encourage staff to eat food away from work areas

toiteora.govt.nz/our-initiatives/5-messages-to-keep-your-family-healthy/Put in place flexible work options where possible to allow staff to work from home, if Covid-19 alert levels increase or for staff who are fit to work but potentially infectious to work from home and prevent spread of the illness.

 

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:                            

  • Encourage staff to use the NZ tracer app.
  • Immunisation and the national immunisation schedule
  • Relevant timely information from the MInistry of Health about COVID-19 vaccination and its benefits
  • Relevant information about the flu vaccine
  • Hand hygiene and demonstrations on how to do this effectively
  • Benefits of good infection control and immunisation
  • How to store and prepare food safely
  • Preparing in case of a flu pandemic
  • Keep your family healthy with these five messages

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 16 Feb 2021