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HIV disclosure
Dec 9, 2006

I am a new risk manager for a construction company that works primarily with sheet metal and steel. It is not uncommon for any number of workers to be cut during the course of a day. So, my questions are as follows: 1) For the safety of all employees, may I require that all employees be subject to HIV screening?; 2) May I require that employees who are HIV positive disclose, with or without a screening?; and 3) May I require employees who are HIV positive to always wear gloves?

I believe that the obvious solution would be to require all workers to where gloves on the job. However, there is a great deal of detail work that simply cannot be performed while wearing gloves. As a result, all workers have the potential to encounter the blood of others.

How do I protect my guys?

Response from Ms. Breuer

You protect your guys by adhering to standards that protect everyone, regardless of HIV or hepatitis status.

No, you can't require HIV tests or share information you may have about an employee's HIV status.

No, you cannot require disclosure. All very much against the law. And the law is not unreasonable here. Everyone should be adhering to the same safety standards. Universal application of those standards is the only real precaution/risk management over time. Consider: the most infectious person with HIV is newly-infected and would test negative. See what I mean?

Check sources at this site and others under the search "universal precautions" or "standard precautions."

Do "gloves" have to mean thick work gloves? How about latex gloves? Something thin?

There's a great deal of terrific information at this site and other HIV-related sites about reducing the risk of transmission through blood contact. Please know as well that such tranmission is rare.



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