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Work-related illness and mandatory vaccination in Connecticut

Workers' health is important for the success of any industry. It is critical for hospitals and health care clinics, because the health care staff is more susceptible to contracting diseases while working with patients. Contracting disease on the job is an occupational hazard that health workers face. Every industry is duty bound to ensure that its workers are protected against work-related illness.

As part of its primary objective of patient safety, a hospital in Connecticut mandated its health care staff to take the flu shot vaccine. One of the staff refused the mandatory vaccination because of a poor reaction to it in the past. She was suspended from work and was permitted to return only when she agreed to the shot. The hospital made a statement that the vaccination is part of an overall program to guard its patients' health.

Workplace illness can strain workers physically and psychologically. The failure of an industry to deal with the issue can lead to a reduction in productivity on account of workers' illnesses. It is in the best interest of the workers, industry and nation to address the issue of occupational illness.

Every industry is duty bound under the law to ensure that workers do not fall ill with a work-related illness. The occupational hazards that a worker may face, including lung diseases, asbestosis, silicosis, cancer, allergies and the like, are diverse in their nature and depend on the nature of the industry.

Workers have the right, under workers' compensation laws and other federal and state statutes, to claim compensation, insurance, sick leave and medical treatment for any work-related illness. They are also entitled to rehabilitation in the event of serious debilitation resulting from a work-related illness. If an industry is not observing the rules and regulations regarding occupational safety and health, the responsible parties may be found liable under various federal and state laws.

Aggrieved workers suffering from work-related illness should know that they are entitled to have their grievances addressed.

Source: NBC Connecticut, "Flu Shot Protester Gets Vaccine," Jo Ling Kent, Dec. 10, 2012

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