What Is Occupational Health?

Posted By Kelly Hone on 2018-03-06 09:26

 

Occupational Health is a multidisciplinary field concerned with the safety, health of people at work. 
The goals of occupational health programs are to foster a safe and healthy work environment.

There are many situations where Occupational Health could be involved with an individual’s employment:

  • - To be able to establish that candidates are able to meet the physical requirements of the job prior to assignment (i.e. if the job is deemed to be physically demanding)
  • - To monitor employee’s health status at periodic intervals when the job involves exposure to potential health hazards (health screening may be necessary).
  • - To establish that employees are able to return to work after a prolonged absence due to illness or injury
  • - To suggest conditions under which employees with illnesses, injuries or disabilities are able to continue working.

Who’s responsibility is it to ensure positive Occupational Health?

Occupational Health mostly focuses on the employee but can also benefit co-workers, family members, employers, customers, and many others who might be affected by the workplace environment. 
It is your responsibility as an employer to provide a safe and healthy working environment for all, and this would be achieved by carrying out Health and Safety Risk Assessments in the workplace.
Measures are then put in place to remove or reduce any hazards identified.  Often this assessment identifies that the hazard cannot be eliminated but one way of ensuring the health of your employees may be to carry out routine screening/surveillance, this is an important role of occupational health.

When you may be referred to Occupational Health

An individual employee may be referred to Occupational Health if work is deemed to be having a negative impact on their wellbeing, the individual may still be in work or absent.  An Occupational Health practitioner would be employed to carry out a professional Occupational Health Assessment.

This assessment seeks to evaluate an employee’s health and identify possible causes of illness and behaviour.  The outcomes of this assessment is to put measures in place and attempt to improve the situation.  This could take the form of physical changes to the work place, assigning different roles, obtaining special equipment or assistance, working from home, implementing health surveillance, reducing hours or changing shift patterns.

An employee may experience health problems for a wide variety of reasons including;

-Working long hours.
  • -Physically demanding tasks on a daily basis.
  • -Frequently changing shift patterns- day/night.
  • -Exposures to infectious diseases
  • -Exposure to harmful chemicals- wearing incorrect PPE.
  • -Poor air quality in the workplace (contaminated air)
  • -Exposure to vapors, gas, dust, or fumes
  • -Emotionally challenging situations
  • -Illness
  • -Injury
  •  

The below situations can effect on the individual’s ability to carry out their work:

 

  • -Fatigue
  • -Stress
  • -Sleep deprivation
  • -Musculoskeletal problems
  • -Dermatitis
  • -Asthma and other respiratory conditions
  • -Hearing loss
  • -Tinnitus
  • -Eye Strain
  • -Headaches
  • -Back and Neck Pain
  • -Repetitive strain Injury
  • -Anxiety
  • -Depression
  •  

The most common forms of health surveillance carried out in workplaces include periodic eye tests, skin swab tests, hearing tests, lung function tests and counselling.

 

Do you need help with Occupational Health?

If you require further information regarding Occupational Health, please contact one of our team for a FREE quotation or if you have any questions.

 

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