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Posted April 10, 2019
Occupational health has moved its focus from the treatment of occupational disease to the prevention of it in the first place. As part of this fundamental change in outlook it was realised that monitoring the health of the workforce on an ongoing basis could lead to early intervention and prevention. That in essence is what occupational health surveillance is all about, ongoing monitoring of the workforce for prevention of occupational disease. As an occupational health surveillance provider, we offer many occupational health surveillance services.
A system of ongoing health checks
Occupational health surveillance is a system of ongoing health checks of your employees at prescribed times. Some of these health checks are required by law, for instance for employees who are exposed to noise or vibration, ionising radiation, solvents, fumes, dusts, biological agents and other substances hazardous to health, or work in compressed air.
What can occupational health surveillance do?
Health surveillance can lead to many advantageous results for your business, most important among them is the following:
Occupational health surveillance & your risk assessment
Your risk assessment should be used to identify any need for health surveillance of your employees. Occupational health surveillance is not a substitute for undertaking a risk assessment or putting in place effective controls of risk. However, sometimes occupational health surveillance can identify where more action needs to be taken to control risks.
Occupational health surveillance is a legal requirement
Occupational health surveillance is a particular legal requirement within some industries. There are particular medical checks that have been proscribed by legislation, these do not cover the following:
What are occupational health surveillance tests?
Occupational health surveillance tests are varied from industry to industry and risk to risk. For instance, lung function tests and biological monitoring would be a strong component of health surveillance within the spray paint industry. The actual tests undertaken are based on the risk assessment, in this way resources are guarded, and money is not spent on testing that is not needed.
Do I need occupational health surveillance?
The answer to this question can be found in your risk assessment. Hopefully your risk assessment will have identified all of the hazards in your workplace, who is at risk and the measures you can take to control the risks. Where some risk remains and there is likely to be harm caused to your employees, you will need to take further steps. You should strongly consider occupational health surveillance if your employees are at risk from:
In the case of these particular hazards control measures may not always be reliable, despite appropriate checking and maintenance. It therefore makes sense to introduce health surveillance in order that any ill health is detected early. Health surveillance is required if all the following HSE criteria are met:
What sort of health surveillance do I need?
Again, this is based on the results of your risk assessment. Where your risk assessment has identified the need to implement health surveillance, you will need to put into place a programme that adequately addresses the risks and potential ill-health effects your employees may be exposed to.
HSE provides a range of industry-specific guidance and much of this includes advice on which jobs may require health surveillance and what you need to do in response. There are also a number of high-hazard substances or agents where the law requires that the health surveillance programme includes statutory medical surveillance. Statutory medical surveillance involves a medical examination and possibly tests by a doctor with appropriate training and experience. The doctor must have been appointed by HSE.
Medical surveillance is a legal requirement for the following workplace exposures:
If you have any questions about occupational health surveillance services in the UK, or you are looking for health and safety services in Leicester or across the UK, don’t hesitate to call us on 01455 234 600 or contact us online.
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Healthscreen UK Ltd provide a fully comprehensive range of Occupational Health Services from Health Surveillance to Biological Monitoring.