Information for employees
You may be reading this because you’ve been referred to occupational health and you’d like to know more about what this means.
We appreciate that a referral (usually from your employer) to a service advising on health outside your usual healthcare in general practice or hospital may seem a little daunting. Doctors, nurses and other health professionals in occupational health work to the same high standards as for all health professionals, and so will treat you with the same levels of professionalism and respect.
The essential difference is that the focus will be on advising how you might be supported if you have a health condition that may be impacting on your work, and/or how your health might be protected when there are work factors that might affect health. This might be via a consultation - in a clinic or remotely (e.g. by video) - or protecting your health through health surveillance.
We hope the following information will help you understand more about the process and what the SEQOHS standards mean for you.
What is the purpose of occupational health?
Occupational Health services whether in-house or provided by a contractor may include:
Protecting the health of employees includes new starter and periodic fitness for work assessments for safety critical roles, immunisation programmes and health surveillance for risks identified on an employer’s risk assessments (such as Hand Arm Vibration).
Statutory Health Surveillance. The law requires medical surveillance of specific hazards such as asbestos, lead, and ionising radiation, by a competent occupational physician appointed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), called an 'appointed doctor'.
Supporting employees with health conditions and/or disability includes pre-placement assessments to advise on any need for adjustments on starting a new role, and recommending suitable workplace adjustments where these are needed.
Ill health retirement is a specific health assessment for eligibility for early payment of pension benefits on the grounds of permanent ill health.
Interventions to restore health to support rehabilitation, which may include physiotherapy and psychotherapy services.
Promoting the health of employees includes advising on job design, workplace stress management, musculoskeletal health, and assessments of the health of night shift workers. Advice on promoting healthy lifestyles might include specific campaigns.
Why is SEQOHS accreditation important?
If the Occupational Health provider you have been referred to is SEQOHS accredited, the provider has been independently assessed as meeting standards in safety, effectiveness and quality. You can see the standards that SEQOHS accredited providers have to meet here.
How can I find out if the occupational health service I’ve been referred to is accredited by SEQOHS?
A searchable list of occupational health services that have achieved SEQOHS accreditation can be found here.