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What is Occupational Health

Many people wonder what occupational health can add to a business - this presentation takes you through the advantages of having an occupational health service. Also you can see the best way to use occupational health services

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What is Occupational Health

  1. 1. What is Occupational Health jane.coombs@working-well-solutions.com
  2. 2. 1 Starting and leaving employment
  3. 3. 2 National issues • Absence due to stress costs • Sickness absence • after 6 months only 50% are likely to return to work, • after 1 years’ absence only 10%
  4. 4. 3 Work related Health issues influence…. • Risk of civil, criminal or enforcement action • Resources - time, litigation, investigations • Staff turnover • Poor publicity/low morale
  5. 5. Work Related Health Issues 4 Manual handling injuries Upper limb disorders Fitness for work Absence Vaccinations stress Reasonable adjustments
  6. 6. Wellbeing 5 Health promotion Stop smoking Policy Healthy Eating Support for employees Best practice
  7. 7. Linked to Safety 6 Drug and Alcohol testing Fitness for task Health checks on sight, hearing, mobility etc Best practice Product safety eg food, health care workers Computer set up Workplace assessments Policy and procedures
  8. 8. Specific health conditions Hand arm vibration Hearing loss due to noisy workplaces Dust, fume, chemicals affecting the body Lung disease caused by work Skin conditions
  9. 9. 9 Influences on OH • Fit notes – Dame Carol Black • Public Health • Ageing workforce
  10. 10. 10 Absence issues • Average absence 8.4 days • Public sector absence 10.3 days • Health sector 11.2 • Stress is one of the leading and growing causes of absence
  11. 11. 11 How to minimise absence • Return to work interviews • Adhere to site rules • Publishing interdepartmental absence figures • Monitoring everyone’s sickness absence • Trying to change little things • Leadership • Early referral to OH if thought to be work-related
  12. 12. 12 Return to work interview • Welcome • Absence • Responsibility • Move on
  13. 13. 13 Stress at work • There is no disease of ‘stress’ – it is a state of arousal • May lead to Anxiety/Depression • Define stressors for individual • Ask for solutions • Refer to OH as soon as possible • Keep in contact
  14. 14. 14 After depression/anxiety • Fragile - more likely to go off again • stress risk assessment to look at: • work load v resources • control • role conflict • changes in the workplace • support from peers and Management • training needs
  15. 15. 15 Occupational Health and Wellbeing Services • OH Doctors and Nurses with technician support • Manual Handling • Health and Safety • Counselling
  16. 16. 16 What OH does • Health surveillance programmes • Lung function testing • Audiometry • Pre-employment • Management Referrals • Health promotion initiatives
  17. 17. 17 OHA/OHP • Impartial and independent • Negotiate a way back to work or to improve attendance - the best way • rehabilitation programmes • change of shifts • Understand basic Employment law • Regarded as a Competent Person by HSE
  18. 18. 18 What can OH do………… • Interpret medical info into functional info • Fast track referrals • Work place assessments • Compliance – Risk assessment • Help reduce costs by early return to work • Free up management time
  19. 19. 19 Communication Issues - 1 • OH: • too soft • accept the stories without question • do not understand operational issues • has the power to make employment decisions • do not answer questions or give a decision
  20. 20. 20 Communication issues - 2 Employees • Manipulate OH and get OH on side • Hide behind confidentiality • Believe that OH has power to authorise: • holidays • change of duties • redeployment when a work situation is difficult
  21. 21. 21 Communication Issues 3 • HR/Managers • Threaten staff with OH when all else has failed • Do not fully discuss the referral process • Do not tell OH the whole story • Can be openly hostile about OH recommendations • Want OH to make employment decisions
  22. 22. 22 Essential to OH work • Communication • Reports • Management referrals • Case conferences • Team working • Collaboration, negotiation, compromise • Trust
  23. 23. What is Occupational Health For more information about health and work – pop over to www.workingwellsolutions.com and sign up for my monthly newsletter

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