Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSW) states that employers have a general duty of care to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable the health, safety, and welfare of all their employees. Health Surveillance is about having procedures in place to detect work-related ill health at an early stage and acting on the results. As such, Health Surveillance is not an end in itself but shows whether control measures to reduce and avoid workplace health hazards are working.
When employees are exposed to certain health risks from their work activities; the employer has a legal duty to implement a health surveillance programme.
Occupational health is a service put in place to help keep employees safe and healthy whilst working and to identify any risks that are likely to cause work-related ill health. It’s part of the parcel to providing duty of care to employees.
What is Health Surveillance?
Health surveillance is the process of monitoring the health of employees exposed to specific health risks during the course of their work. Where appropriate, employers need to provide health surveillance to demonstrate they are meeting their duty of care for their employees.
Some working environments are complex for example within the Construction and Chemical Industries where minimum standards are advised for health monitoring / surveillance for example Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome, noise induced hearing loss, dermatitis, respiratory disease (Sensitisers, Silicosis and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), Musculoskeletal problems and stress. Also, minimum standards for Safety Critical Work are advised.
How can Northern Safety help your organisation?
At Northern Safety Ltd in Stockton, North East England, we work in association with Occupational Health Professionals and can offer the following services.
General Health Medicals / Surveillance
General medicals include the following, audio/hearing, spirometry/respiratory, eye testing, skin assessment, general health screening questionnaire and take approximately 1 hour to complete per person.
Safety Critical Medicals
Medicals for those employees carrying out safety critical tasks such as crane drivers, fork lift truck drivers, HGV drivers, train drivers, scaffolders, riggers, working at height, banksmen, traffic controllers, night workers, lone workers etc.
Safety Critical Medicals include the following, Height, Weight, BMI, locomotor/mobility, blood pressure and pulse rate, colour vision confrontation (visual fields), distance vision (aided & unaided), audiometry, urinalysis, peak flow (lung Function) and take approximately 1.5 hours to complete per person.
HAVS Screening (T1 Questionnaire)
Identify anyone exposed or about to be exposed to hand-arm vibration who may be at particular risk, for example people with blood circulatory diseases such as Raynaud’s Disease. Identify any vibration-related disease at an early stage in employees regularly exposed to hand-arm vibration.
Drug & Alcohol Testing
Pre-employment testing. Regular testing as part of a company’s employment policy.
Workplace DSE Assessments
For “users” who work with display screen equipment – i.e. desktop computers, laptops, tablets, TV screens, and even smartphones – If DSE hazards are not assessed and equipment is not ergonomic, users could be at significant risk of health issues such as musculoskeletal disorders.
Work-related stress and/or bullying can make daily life unbearable. Suffering can make a person dread going to their place of vocation. It can be so easy for superiors to brush off a victim of stress or bullying by concluding that they are ‘over-sensitive’ or ‘not up to the task’, ignoring the long-term harm these work-related situations can cause.