An employee in a carpet cleaning /restoration business refuses to get hepatitis injection

As Jena Dyco is a specialised training organisation for the cleaning and restoration industries we get a great deal of water damage technical enquiries from customers who have previously come through our IICRC Water Damage Course. Our office staff take down all of the information about their enquiry and for more simply enquiries ask the trainer and then call the customers back. When there is a more complicated water damage technical enquiry we get the trainers to call the customers direct.

We had a very interesting enquiry today from one of our customer’s who runs a water damage restoration business in Melbourne. They have a new employee who refuses to get an vaccinated. When working in water damage restoration (and for that matter in any area where you will be potentially coming into contact with unsanitary wateror body fluids) it is extremely important that all staff have the appropriate vaccinations to ensure that everyone is safe on the job.

The employee has started with the restoration company as is refusing to have the necessary vaccinations that are being asked of him. He is quite adament that he is happy to take the risk of infection in order to avoid having an injection (which he is very fearful of).

This brings up lots of issues for the employer:

  • Should they allow this person to carry out water damage work without vaccinations?
  • Who is liable if something goes wrong?
  • Do they need to get the employee to sign something to say that he has made this decision?
  • At what stage of the recruitment should you discuss job mandatory requirements?
  • Where does the company stand with letting the staff member go in terms of fair work practices?

The owner of the restoration busines is worried about this staff member and wanted to find out how they can protect themselves in case the employee does get sick. Will they be liable if the employee had refused to get the injection? We checked with our Health and Safety Trainer Charlie Lodge who recommended to call WorkCover in their state. Charlie also recommended to inbuild into their employment contracts, that it is compulsory to have hepatitis and tenanus injection.

How would you deal with this situation? If you are interested in getting into water damage work please visit our website or contact 03 9815 0175.