What to do if an employee is down with measles -Publication
Maria Gusarova

Head of Labour Safety Department BDO Unicon Outsourcing

A case of measles is detected at the company’s office. Company is in panic. Such situations are not uncommon today. What to do if infection outbreak occurs in the office?

If a person falls ill with a socially dangerous disease, then after the patient visits a doctor or is taken to a hospital, the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor) contacts him. The meaning of "socially dangerous disease" is described in the Government Decree No. 715 dated December 1, 2004. In addition, a list of diseases dangerous to the public has been approved. These, for example, include tuberculosis, hepatitis B and C, and diphtheria.

The diseased employee is informed about registration, as well as about the need to visit the Rospotrebnadzor department. There he will be asked about the place of work (including the phone number of the employer).

After that, Rospotrebnadzor may decide to conduct an audit with the employer. If it not an isolated case or the disease belongs to a group of especially significant, a representative of the inspection body will visit the company. The inspector checks the conditions of the office, eating and recreation areas, etc. Inspection of premises must be carried out with the participation of personnel services or labour protection representative. Following the inspection results, an act is drawn up which includes information on the results of the inspection, detected violations, and also prescribes the actions that the employer should take.

After that the employer must fulfil all directions. The inspector may oblige you to undergo a compulsory medical examination and offer to get vaccination to all unvaccinated employees. The expenses of all these procedures are borne by the employer; you cannot force employees to buy the vaccines at their own expense. After fulfilling all the instructions, the employer must send a free-form written notice to the Rospotrebnadzor, having attached all certificates following the results of medical procedures.

It cannot be hoped that if an employee took sick leave, he will not infect his colleagues. For example, if a person gets the measles, then the incubation period (when there are still no signs of the disease) lasts 8-14 days. Besides, during the last four days of the incubation period, he is already contagious. The probability of getting measles for an unvaccinated person constitutes 90%. The disease is communicated by airborne transmission, that is, if an employee is ill with measles, then all people who were not vaccinated against this disease and who were with the patient in the same room or rooms with common air ducts are at risk of getting down. They must undergo an emergency vaccination. The threat is rather serious.

The most difficult case is when ill employee does not seek medical attention. He may turn out to be the carrier and infector of the disease for several years. Such cases are not uncommon: people often do not undergo medical examination and do not pay attention, for example, to the early symptoms of tuberculosis.

If no instructions are received from the inspector, you have a right not to announce quarantine in the office. If employees ask to let them work remotely for fear of infection, the decision is up to the employer. If the inspector has not detected the threat, you can say no to employees willing to work remotely.

If the employer has issued an order for a compulsory medical examination, but employees working in the office refuse to undergo such examination, the company has the right to suspend such employees from their duties. However if the employing company issued an order for compulsory vaccination, employees have the right to refuse this procedure. In this case, they must provide a written refusal of medical intervention.

Would the employer face a fine? If the inspector did not reveal violations in the organization and all the requirements of the Rospotrebnadzor are fulfilled, there will be no fines. However, failure to comply with the requirements or the absence of written refusals may result in fines. In March this year, the Chief Sanitary Doctor of Russia signed a decree “On Conducting a Clean-up Measles Immunization on the Territory of Russia”, according to which the employer must provide measles vaccination for all foreign workers until December 31, 2019. Legal entities, which breached the law, may face a fine of 10,000-20,000 roubles or administrative suspension of activities for up to 90 days.

Source: Vedomosti


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