Policy on HIV
We will not discriminate against anyone with, or at risk of acquiring Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). We regard HIV in relation to employment as any other disease liable to affect our workers. There are well established procedures that protect the employment rights of anyone suffering from the disease and reducing the harm to others, which we will follow. We will also ensure all reasonable adjustments are provided along with confidential support, help and advice to any of our workers living with HIV.
We aim to:
- Ensure that all employees have access to up-to-date and adequate information regarding HIV in the workplace
- Encourage an understanding attitude towards people with HIV and prevent victimisation or discrimination against colleagues with HIV infection
- Inform individuals with HIV of their rights and responsibilities and support them in order to maintain as good a state of health as possible
- Emphasise the importance of confidentiality of all personal details and medical information
If you are a Director, you have the responsibility to ensure that adequate Health and Safety Management is in place. You will ensure that adequate risk assessment, infection control procedures and information are provided to reduce the risk of an individual acquiring HIV infection as a result of their work, so far as is reasonably practicable.
You should be aware that any employee diagnosed with HIV is considered to be disabled, even if they are not currently experiencing any symptoms.
2.2 Line Managers
If you are a line manager you must:
- Fully comply with this policy
- Take appropriate steps to provide equal opportunity and equality of treatment to individuals living with HIV
- Ensure that appropriate information and training is provided to your staff on HIV according to their work needs
- Ensuring that adequate risk assessments and infection control procedures are in place for the work being undertaken
- Make reasonable adjustments to accommodate the needs of employees living with HIV
2.3 All workers (including employees, students, contractors, etc)
Your responsibilities include:
- Working safely and efficiently, including complying with any infection control arrangements and current universal precautions for blood borne diseases and infections
- Treating individuals who are living with HIV with respect and in a non-discriminatory manner. Disciplinary action may be taken against any employees who violate this.
- If you are living with HIV you should act in a responsible manner, this includes not putting other employees at risk and you must take into account any Exposure Prone Procedures (EPPs) that could result in an increase risk to colleagues or others
3.1 Work involving human tissue or body fluids
If you are required to handle human tissues, blood and other body fluids, you will be provided with appropriate advice and equipment. The advice will take the form of written guidance on safe systems of work based upon current legislation, codes of practice, etc on this issue. If you have any concerns or issues you should speak to your line manager of your local Health and Safety Adviser.
3.2 Occupational exposure
Each site will:
- Ensure precautions are in place so that if the work includes EPPs or there is an accident involving exposure to human blood there is no risk of transmission of HIV or other blood borne infections
- Develop procedures for the referral for counselling, assessment and medical treatment for workers exposed to the risk of HIV infection (e.g. through accident, assault or EPPs) through the course of their work
- Provide reasonable paid time off for counselling following occupational exposure
- Ensure that the First Aid procedures are reviewed on a regular basis and that first first-aiders receive up to date advice, equipment and information on HIV or other blood borne infections
3.3 Screening for HIV
Screen for HIV antibodies is not compulsory at any stage of employment.
If an individual is known to be HIV positive, this information will be treated in strict confidence.
3.5 Working abroad
AIDS is a worldwide disease. In some countries blood transfusions may not be checked for HIV infection or medical equipment may be re-used without being properly sterilised. Before travelling to these countries it may be wise to take certain medical supplies for use in emergencies. In addition to this, a number of countries require certificates to show freedom from infection with HIV before allowing entry and this should be borne in mind prior to travel. If you travel abroad, information on this and other issues may be obtained from the government websites:
3.6 Education and awareness
Your HR Manager, Occupational Health Adviser and Health and Safety Adviser will have information on support available in your location.
3.7 Reviews and audits
The implementation of this policy will be monitored through the Joint Health and Safety Committee.
4. Related policies and procedures
This policy should be read in conjunction with:
- Health and Safety Policy statement
- Health and Attendance Policy
- Dignity and Diversity at Work Policy
The application of it must be consistent with the requirements of the The Equality Act 2010.
Last updated 03/11/10
Amendment 110 - November 2010