What Is Occupational Heath?
Occupational health is a specialist healthcare service that takes into account the effects that certain types of work might have on your health. The occupation assessment will consider an individuals’ health, ability and fitness to carry out a specific job or role. These assessments aren’t used to discriminate they’re put in place to protect an employee to ensure the propose work doesn’t impact their health in a negative way.
Why am I being referred?
UK Health & Safety Legislation states it’s an employer’s duty to ensure the health of their employees whilst working. An employer must consider all health issues that might affect an employee’s ability to safely carry out their job role. When you’re referred this isn’t to discriminate against you, it’s so an employer can make any adjustments or adaptations so you can carry out your job in safe way.
There are numerous different assessments that you might be required to undertake and these will be decided by the occupation health provider. Most assessment usually consist on an initial face to face or phone consultation with an occupation health provider. An functional assessment might then be carried out by a physiotherapist or specialist GP who is trained to carry them out.
Is the occupation assessment confidential?
Just like when you see any other medical professional, your information and results are kept confidential. All doctors and nurses who might be involved in your occupational health assessment are medically qualified and have the skills needed to carry out an occupational assessment.
During an assessment you might be asked by the occupation provider is they can approach your own GP to gain access to medical records to build up a better assessment of your health. The information gathered during an assessment will remain confidential and only information relating to your job role or attendance will be shared with your employer.
The final report will strip back most of the medical information and will all contain what the provider feels is necessary for your employer. The provider will offer advice on any adjustments or adaptation that should be put in place to reduce the risk to your health. If for any reason, you wish to withhold information from your employer, then they are entitled to make a decision and changes on your behalf. If you’re considering holding back any information, then we recommend discussing with your own HR department to see the implications it could have.
What types of adjustments and adaptations might an employer make?
Some of the most common types of adjustments employers might make to your role or working environment include:
- Masks or breathing apparatuses might be supplied for difficult to breathe in environments or situations
- Ramps if you have difficult climbing stairs
- Different forms of ear defends could be provided depending of the severity of noise in a working environment
- New seating to help with back or neck conditions
- Change in working hours or break times to better suit the medical needs of an employee
These are just a few of the most common adjustment that employers make to roles or working environment to ensure the health of their employees. Employers are required by law to make reasonable adjustments and adaptations.
Occupation Health and Job Roles
Are occupational assessments needed for new jobs?
When applying for a new role within your existing company or a new company, you may be required to have an occupational health assessment carried out. The is so the employer can gain an understanding of your health and capabilities for a specific role. Most driving jobs will need you to meet with DVLA guidelines regarding medical conditions. The assessment is a way for your new employer to ensure your health is fully protected whilst you’re at work.
Can I be referred for a medical because of time off from work?
Some companies will refer employees for occupational assessment regarding your current health state if the employer thinks your absence is caused because of the work you’re carrying out or is they think your health is affecting the way you do your job.
The assessments are a way of the employer protecting both you and themselves. Undergoing an occupation medical can help to make sure your role isn’t affecting your health and if it is, then the employer can make adjustments or adaptations to your role or workplace. On some occasions the results of an assessment might mean you’re unable to return to a particular role; especially if a job is having a serious negative impact on your health.
What are my rights? Am I protected?
The Equality Act ensures that any person that has a medical problem or disability are treated fairly in the workplace. The act is in place to ensure that employers consider all reasonable adjustments and adaptations for people who have a medical condition that might affect their role. The term disability is defined as someone who has a substantially adverse or long term condition that effects their ability to carry out normal day to day activities.