"A healthy workforce is a productive workforce “
We believe that a healthy workforce is a productive workforce and we have extensive experience of providing a range of occupational health services to businesses both large and small, and to the public sector including local councils.
Our health surveillance service:
We are experienced in carrying out health surveillance examinations and assessments at the workplace ensuring that minimal working time is lost per employee. This flexible mobile service is extremely cost effective as it allows many health surveillance examinations to be carried out in one day with quick results so that action can be taken to ensure that health risks are managed more effectively in the future.
Health and Safety and Health Surveillance
Health and safety regulations require employers to provide health surveillance for their employees. Health surveillance is about systematically monitoring for early signs of work-related ill health in employees exposed to certain health risks.
Employers have a duty to put in place procedures to achieve this including looking for skin damage on hands from using certain chemicals, technical checks such as hearing tests and general medical examinations.
Employers should carry out a risk assessment which identifies health hazards in the workplace and identifies who is at risk and take measures to control the risk. Where risks remain, further steps need to be taken including health surveillance.
In particular, employers should consider if any employees are at risk from noise or hand/arm vibration, solvents, fumes, dust, biological agents and other substances hazardous to health including asbestos, lead, compressed air, and ionizing radiations, all of which are covered under specific health and safety at work regulations which require health surveillance and/or regular medical examinations.
For exposure to some other health risks such as manual handling, work-related upper limb disorders, work that might give rise to stress-related diseases and symptoms from whole body vibration, there are no specific legal requirements for health surveillance, but employers should monitor the health of employees exposed to these risks, such as encouraging employees to report symptoms and checking sickness records.
Health surveillance provides employers with information which helps them to protect employees from illness caused by being exposed to health risks at work and enables them to manage these risks effectively by acting as a check on how control measures are working and helping to pinpoint where further steps are needed. It also provides a valuable opportunity for feedback from employees and a chance to reinforce health and safety messages to them.
In addition to employees checking themselves for signs or symptoms of ill health, it is important that an occupational health nurse carries out examinations and assessments and has the opportunity to ask about symptoms.
Employers need to ensure that health records of the health surveillance are kept, that a competent person undertakes such health surveillance and that action is taken on the results so that health risks are managed more effectively in the future.
Employees should be involved early on to ease fears and build trust. They need to understand their role and responsibilities in the health surveillance programme and to be sure there are safeguards to protect their jobs if evidence of ill health is found. They need to be asked for their consent to certain health surveillance procedures and be sure that medical information is treated in confidence.
The main objectives of health surveillance are:
- Protecting the health of employees by early detection of adverse changes or disease
- Collecting data for detecting and evaluating health hazards
- Evaluating control measures.
It is not enough to simply carry out suitable tests, questionnaires and examinations. Employers must then have the results interpreted and take action to eliminate, or further control exposure and redeploy affected workers if necessary.
Health surveillance should be carried out by an occupational health specialist who is able to interpret the results for each individual providing information and allowing employers to keep up to date records, and highlight trends that may occur. If we can help with your health surveillance needs please contact us for further details.