Whilst reducing the possibility of your employees contracting a vaccine preventable disease is your number one concern, we must not forget about the legal and financial implications of not effectively implementing and maintaining your vaccination management system.
In acknowledging the inherent risk healthcare employees face on a daily basis from diseases which are preventable with the right vaccinations in place, government health organisations all over the world mandate policy directives which provide frameworks for the immunisation and screening of healthcare workers to minimise the risk of these diseases.
These policies are currently in place in most government organisation and in most large scale corporate organisations which have employees that are patient facing or coming in contact with biologics. These policies generally need to be maintained and kept up to date at all times.
The argument that individuals should take responsibility for their own health and safety is a great debate worth having but at the end of the day, an organisation needs to provide the necessary oversight of such programs and an excel spreadsheet containing dirty data manually looked over by someone at some point is not going to cut it.
If something does go wrong, you need to have up to date information on hand to know what you and the employee in question are dealing with. This will prove to be critical with medical first responses all the way through to the counselling provided. Providing immediate reassurance because you have the information at your fingertips and being able to advise an affected employee that they are up to date in their immunisations can provide immense comfort at a time of significant uncertainty.
With adherence to health department policy recommendations and effectively demonstrating accountability and tight vaccination processes, organisations can significantly reduce their financial exposure in the case of litigation. There is significant evidence of reduction in compensation payouts when organisations can demonstrate effective risk reduction strategies1.
In addition, large organisations face steep increases in their workers compensation policies when claims are made. In NSW, policies which are currently $30,000 per year or greater, generally encompassing medium to large organisations, face significant increases in their premiums should a claim be made against their policy. Whilst each State and Territory in Australia has their own Workers Compensation laws, similar processes are enforced Australia wide. By reducing the need to use your policies through tight safety processes for vaccination preventable diseases, policy claims become less likely thereby keeping a lid on policy increases.
Whilst Vaccination management programs will always remain focused on ensuring delivery of disease preventative vaccines to employees to reduce risks to their health and well being, there is an important underlying financial element. By effectively administering and maintaining a well thought through program based on current best practices, organisations not only protect the health of their employees but also ensure that their financial and legal liabilities are also looked after.
1.Grunebaum, A et al Effect of a comprehensive obstetric patient safety program on compensation payments and sentinel events Am J Obstet Gynecol Vol 204, Issue 2 p97-105
All information contained in this blog is of general nature and does not constitute financial or legal advice so should not be treated as such. It does not replace the need to seek professional representation for specific guidance for individual cases. If you have any specific questions relating to your specific situation, you should consult your professional legal or financial services provider.