Being in business involves risk. An important area of risk is around employee health. Such risks can potentially have a major impact, whether from ill health or from litigation, both civil (alleged negligence, work-related damage or failure to comply with requirements) and criminal (health & safety offences).
Occupational Health is the specialist branch of healthcare that is concerned with the affects of health and the ability to work and the adverse affects of work on health. It consists of essentially preventive functions and responsible for advising and assisting the employer to promote and maintain healthy workforce.
Occupational Health Doctors are able to help an employer significantly reduce the risks and thus assist with optimising productivity whilst reducing costs related to health. How can they do this?
Minimising the impacts of health risks to the business:
Identifying the legacy of impairment/disease in new employees and establishing on employment the ‘baseline’ of health.
Identifying work-related disease at the earliest point, to facilitate early intervention and treatment, enable cost containment and avoid legal challenge.
Advising on preventing/minimising work-related illness.
Complying with health surveillance, and, where required, advising on statutory reporting of work-related disease.
Assessing fitness for work during and after illness/disease onset – recommending adjustments and restrictions (mostly temporary) to reduce absence costs.
Factories and Machinery Act 1967
Food Act 1983
Atomic Energy Licensing Act 1984
Under OSHA 1994, the responsibility for the provision of OHS lies with the employer. The employer has to make the necessary arrangements within its organization to ensure that there are budgetary (both financial and human resources) provisions for the implementation of the appropriate type of OHS
|Occupational Health Scope|
Pre-employment screening: to ensure as far as possible that the person is fit both mentally and physically to do the duties required of them in the job they have been successfully interviewed for.
Immunity assessment and vaccination: according to the identified risk of cross infection in the job, we will assess your current immunity and then vaccinate as appropriate with your informed consent.
Health Surveillance: this is performed according to identified measurable risks in the job, e.g. chemical fumes, noise, etc, and we check that you are fit to work with these elements and follow-up to check that they are not making you ill according to current legislation recommendations, e.g. eyesight tests, lung function, hearing tests etc.
Management of Infectious diseases: we will advise whether you can work or if you need time off, and if so, when you can return to work in order to minimise the risk of cross-infection in the workplace.
Health and Safety advice: we can advise on a range of aspects in the workplace, e.g. risk assessments, workplace assessments etc.
Work Station Assessments: we can advise on how your workstation should be arranged and how to deal with any problems, e.g. reduction of glare, correct chair.
Return to Work Rehabilitation Programmes: we can support you to get back to work after a long-term absence for whatever reason by formulating a support return to work programme to enable you to return according to your capabilities and will continue to support you until you are fully returned to work.
Sick Absence Management: we offer advice, support and education for anyone who requires assistance in this area of management.
Medical Removal: Any cases of definite or suspected occupational poisoning or disease and excessive absorption must be removed from their work area. Assessment of their signs and symptoms, abnormal cytology and biochemical results have to be done and he/she is certified fit for work by the Occupational Health Doctor
Participating in emergency response and disaster management: This covers arrangements for handling any form of emergency that may occur in the workplace. Appropriate training in first aid has to be organized for employees to ensure that they are competent to provide appropriate care in an emergency.
Record Keeping: All occupational medical examinations are treated confidentially and the records are maintained for the required periods.
|What do Occupational Health Doctors do?|
Assessment of the employees' health, based on the clinical and occupational history and clinical signs, understanding of the particular occupation involved, performance of further clinical examination, including further tests, as appropriate.
Making a competent assessment of the interaction between workers and their jobs taking in to account Health and Safety issues.
Organising investigations important to the assessment of occupational risks or fitness for work.
Providing occupational interventions as appropriate.
Taking suitable and prompt action when necessary.
Providing patients with the information they need to protect themselves against occupational risks.
Visiting the workplace where appropriate.
Advising on measures required to ensure a safe working environment, taking into account of statutory obligations.
Advising on health surveillance where appropriate.
Assessing competently patient's fitness for work and rehabilitation or redeployment possibilities.
Giving advice on ill-health retirement where appropriate.
Discouraging discrimination in the work place against employees with health problems.
|Occupational Health Team|
Occupational Health Nurse (OHN)
Occupational Hygienist (OHyg)
Safety and Health Officer