As an employer, you can't afford to ignore HIV in your workplace. In terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), you have a general obligation to provide and maintain a working environment that's safe and without risk to the health of your employees.
To minimise the risks of HIV becoming a health and safety risk, you must take into account the potential dangers of your workplace and have a plan to contain the risks.
Use these three steps to help prevent HIV in the workplace
#1: Encourage employees to know their HIV status
In an event that your employee tests positive and is aware of his status, he can practice positive health and use condoms so he isn't re-infected. They can also treat opportunistic infections as soon as possible and get medical care and support.
#2: Prevent the spread of blood
The health and safety risk of contracting HIV comes from contact with infected blood.
So encourage employees to treat all blood as if it's HIV positive. In addition, ensure there's a first aid kit with rubber gloves on the premises and that it's accessible to your employees.
#3: Distribute free condoms
'Giving your employees access to free condoms is the most cost-effective prevention strategy you can implement,' says the Health and Safety Advisor.
Build a relationship with your company's nearest local clinic so they'll be prepared to supply you with free condoms. Your cleaning staff or health and safety reps can be in charge of restocking the supply and distributing the condoms in your employees' toilets.
Remember, in terms of the Code of Good Practice on HIV and Aids, you can't unfairly discriminate against an employee who's HIV positive.
Using these tips will help ensure you prevent HIV from spreading in your workplace and maintain a working environment that's not a health and safety risk to your employees.