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Health & Safety / October 27, 2021

Work that requires a Vaccinated Employee

The government is mandating vaccinations for all businesses that require vaccination certificates. This includes hospitality, events, hairdressers, and other close contact businesses.

Employers can also require other work to be done by a vaccinated employee, if a risk assessment identifies this is necessary for health and safety purposes.

Your focus in the risk assessment must be on the role – the work being done – rather than the individual performing the role. If you want your employees to be vaccinated for reasons other than health and safety,  that is an employment matter and you should follow Employment New Zealand guidance here.

Risk Assessment

Worksafe has developed questions to help you complete the risk assessment. There are likely to be other questions specific to your work that you should also ask.  Where a situation is not black and white, a judgement call will need to be made. Advice from a health and safety professional may help you do that.

1. Consider these risk factors:

  • How many people does the employee carrying out that work come into contact with? (very few = lower risk; many = higher risk)
  • How easy will it be to identify the people who the employee comes into contact with? (easy to identify, such as co-workers = lower risk; difficult to identify, such as unknown members of public = higher risk)
  • How close is the employee carrying out the tasks in proximity to other people? (2 metres or more in an outdoor space = lower risk; close physical contact in an indoor environment = higher risk)
  • How long does the work require the employee to be in that proximity to other people? (brief contact = lower risk; lengthy contact = higher risk)
  • Does the work involve regular interaction with people considered at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, such as people with underlying health conditions? (little to none = lower risk; whole time = higher risk)
  • What is the risk of COVID-19 infection and transmission in the work environment when compared to the risk outside work? (equal to outside work = lower risk; higher than outside work = higher risk)
  • Will the work continue to involve regular interaction with unknown people if the region is at a higher alert level? (no = lower risk; yes = higher risk).
  • Record your results

2. Consider other controls. The Ministry of Health has detailed information about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at work.

3. If your risk ratings tend toward higher risk and you are not able to reduce that risk by implementing more controls, you and your employees should consider whether the work should be performed by a vaccinated employee.

4. If your risk assessment is clear that the risk of COVID-19 infection and transmission through a particular work task is no higher than outside work, you may decide not to require the role to be performed by a vaccinated employee.

The Ministry of Health has information about COVID-19 vaccines and public health information for businesses and services. Unite Against COVID-19 has general information for businesses and services.