Vaccination for Welders

Early in 2013 the Dept of Health (DoH) issued guidance that welders were considered to be at an increased risk of contracting certain types of pneumonia and that  it was therefore good practice that they should be offered vaccination against it. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) undertook to produce guidance for employers on this matter and it has recently been published. Please click on the "Welders Vaccination Guide" at the bottom of the page to download a copy.
 
The underlying message in the guidance is that what is needed to effectively control exposure to weld fume is already well known and that applying these standards is undoubtedly the primary issue, rather than providing vaccination against potential consequences of inadequate control.
 
Key points in the guidance include:

  • Vaccination is not a requirement under the Health and Safety at Work Act;
  • If existing exposure control is effective, vaccination does not need to be offered;
  • But some groups are more at-risk than others, particularly smokers and older workers;
  • If employers choose to offer vaccination themselves, it should be delivered by a competent occupational health provider; and
  • Vaccination is optional for employees  and they cannot be compelled or pressurised into having it

We suggest that an appropriate response amongst members who employ welders would be to:

  • Check that existing well known exposure control measures are being reliably implemented in your operations:
  • Make employees aware of the advice in the HSE guidance eg a toolbox talk: and
  • Identify any higher at-risk individuals and advise that they may wish to consult their GP, taking a copy of the HSE leaflet with them.

 

[+] Welders Vaccination Guide

click to download (173 Kb) Abstract:

HSE guide to pneumonia vaccinations for welders



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