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What’s the answer? Working with Haemophiliacs


This week Joanne Archer, Senior Solicitor at Clarkslegal LLP and Ranjit Dhindsa, Head of Employment at the Midland’s office of international law firm Reed Smith present their ideas on managing a haemophilia sufferer in the workplace.

The question:
Does anyone have experience of Haemophilia and have any tips whether adjustments should be made to first aid arrangements etc.

Kathryn Aldred

The answers:
Joanne Archer, Senior Solicitor at Clarkslegal LLP

Although many of those suffering with haemophilia will require no adjustments to their working conditions at all, it is possible that haemophilia will be a disability for the purposes of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995. Under that act there is a duty to consider making reasonable adjustments to the employee’s role/working environment to accommodate that disability, should they be required.

Employers are required to make reasonable adjustments to workplace arrangements and working practices that place a disabled person at a disadvantage as a result of their disability. These include allocating some of the disabled person’s duties to another person, adjusting their working hours where necessary, and allowing them to be absent for rehabilitation, assessment and treatment.

Examples specific to haemophilia would include changing allocation of work and being flexible about working hours, e.g. if you needed to reduce working hours whilst taking a course of interferon/ribavirin treatment.

For those with severe haemophilia, it maybe appropriate to provide a clean room with a sink should they need to administer treatment. It may also be appropriate to provide an area for storage of any medicines.

You may wish to make first aiders aware of any issues concerning haemophilia, provided of course you have the consent of the haemophiliac, should they wish their condition to be made known.

For more information see –

Ranjit Dhindsa is Head of Employment at the Midland’s office of international law firm Reed Smith

Haemophilia could be classed as a disability under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. Consequently, it may be unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee who has haemophilia because of their disability, either directly or for a disability related reason.

In addition employers may be required to make reasonable adjustments.

To avoid any disadvantage to an employee with haemophilia employers could implement the following reasonable adjustments:

  • Allowing the employee to be absent for rehabilitation, assessment and treatment during working hours;
  • Challenging their insurance company if they refuse to offer accident liability insurance for the employee;
  • Ensure that waterproof dressings are available and that first aiders are trained in how to use them;
  • Employees with haemophilia could be asked to give necessary consents for urgent treatment and
  • Ensuring that first aiders have up to date contact details of their local haemophilia centre in case of an emergency.

Employees do not have to tell employers about their condition. However, if they require any sort of adjustment the employer is under no obligation to provide it, if they are not aware of the condition.

According to the Haemophilia Society people with haemophilia will not bleed to death, but they will bleed for longer than anyone else, mostly internally. Superficial cuts and grazes will respond to normal first aid measures. If a more serious injury occurs, the Society advises that employers contact their local haemophilia centre for on the spot advice.

Employers should also be aware of their duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1994 which requires employers to protect, as far as is reasonably practicable, those at work and those who may be affected by any work in which they are engaged.

The Haemophilia Society advises that there is no risk of a person passing on hepatitis C as long as sensible precautions are taken when dealing with blood e.g. covering a cut with a waterproof dressing.


HRZone highly recommends that any answers are taken as a starting point for guidance only.

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