BRC has 2 specifc requirements for medical screening of employees, visitors and contractors:
7.3.1 The site shall make employees aware of the symptoms of infection, disease or condition which would prevent a person working with open food. The site shall have a procedure which enables notification by employees, including temporary employees, of any relevant symptoms, infection, disease or condition with which they may have been in contact or be suffering from.
7.3.2 Where there may be a risk to product safety, visitors and contractors shall be made aware of the types of symptoms, infection, disease or condition which would prevent a person visiting areas with open food. Where permitted by law, visitors shall be required to complete a health questionnaire or otherwise confirm that they are not suffering from any symptoms which may put product safety at risk, prior to entering the raw material, preparation, processing, packing and storage areas.
What my company is doing to comply with these requirements is:
- we have a form filled in by employees, visitors and contractors in which they have to declare that they have any of the folowwing diseases: hepatitis, food poisoning, open wounds, dysentery, (and the list continues...) - this is something that the Technical Managers of British clients/customers want to see, specially if you have to comply with any other special standard from them.
- in the hygiene rules we put the sentence:
· All staff should inform their superiors and not enter production in case they are suffering of the following symptoms: fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, dizziness, nausea, open wounds, skin diseases, ear infections, influenza, severe coughing, stomach ache, nasal drainage.
· In case of diarrhoea or vomiting, it is only allowed to re-enter production after a period of 48 hours without any symptoms.
· Inform the Management of any overseas travel.
- at reception, in the canteen and at the entrance door in the production area we have a list with the symptoms from the hygiene rules and the sentence : don't enter production and inform Floormanager in case you are suffering of any of these symptoms.
During our last internal audit we asked the internal auditor to sign the hygiene rules for visitors and the above mentioned form that they are not suferring from those diseases. He said that we should be carefull with that form because under the new EU privacy law it is not allowed anymore to ask from which diseases people might suffer. But then you get into contradiction with British clients who specifically ask for that. But at the same time first you have to comply with the law and after that you look at what your client wants and if it is not against the law, you can comply with it. The Dutch law goes so far that in case an employee is sick, he can only voluntarely say what he's disease is, the employer is not allowed to ask it. Also, this is an information that I found on the webpage of AVG (Authority for personal data)
"Uw werkgever mag ook niet rechtstreeks aan u vragen een vragenlijst in te vullen waarin medische gegevens worden gevraagd. Ook niet met uw toestemming." This means that the employer is not allowed to ask the employee to fill in a questionnaire in which medical information is being asked. Even if the employee agrees with it.
I recently had some experience with the company doctor, which had to evaluate the conditions under which I'm allowed to work. The company doctor doesn't have any access to my medical files from the hospital/family doctor, out of privacy reasons. After we discussed about my condition, he asked if my employer knows the nature of my disease/condition, because otherwise he is not allowed to mention it in the letter with recommendations that he will send to the employer.
I checked the requerements of 7.3.1 and 7.3.2, and basically we comply with them if we remove the form with the names of the diseases that we ask everybody to sign at the moment. How are you complying with these requirements and how do you see the situation of law vs client requirement, whether you are in the EU or outside the EU?