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What are Occupational Health Assessments?
Occupational Health Assessments are evaluations of an individual’s physical and mental health in relation to their job or occupation. These assessments are used to identify and manage any potential health risks associated with a person’s work environment and to ensure that they are able to perform their job duties safely and effectively. Occupational Health Assessments typically include a review of the individual’s medical history, a physical examination, and any necessary tests or screenings. The goal of these assessments is to ensure the health and well-being of employees, prevent workplace injuries, and maintain compliance with relevant regulations.
An occupational health assessment depends on multiple factors relating to an employee’s job role, tasks and potential hazards that they are exposed to including pre-existing health issues.
Employers should ensure they use the findings of their risk assessments to help them determine the type of assessment required.
Are You Looking To Introduce An Occupational Health Assessment Program In Your Organisation?
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, Orbis Environmental is here to help! We offer support for organisations of all sizes, and our free resource on our website can guide you in the right direction.
Our online occupational health assessment template is a user-friendly tool that can help identify any potential health risks or hazards in your workplace. It can be customized to suit the specific needs of your organisation, making it easy for you to get started on creating a plan for supporting the health and wellbeing of your workforce.
At Orbis Environmental, we understand the importance of ensuring the health and safety of employees, no matter the size of the organisation. That’s why we offer support and resources to help organisations create a safe and healthy workplace for their employees.
So, whether you are a small business or a large corporation, Orbis Environmental is here to support you in getting started with your occupational health assessment program. Together, we can ensure the ongoing health and wellbeing of your employees, reduce the risk of workplace accidents or illnesses, and improve the overall success of your organisation.
As there are multiple types of occupational health assessment, we can’t cover all of them in this blog, so we have tried to cover as much as we can here.
Different Types of Occupational Health Assessments
1. Pre-Employment Assessment –
A pre-employment assessment is also known as pre-placement health assessments, screening or checks.
Once an employee accepts an offer of employment, pre-employment is carried out by a professional occupational healthcare provider before the employee starts their job.
There are some roles that will require an assessment to be completed before a job is offered because of the area of the work, risks and the fitness standards e.g. train drivers and heavy good vehicle drivers.
Pre-employment assessment consists of questionnaires and medical examinations. A questionnaire helps in determining if there is any problem and if further assistance is needed. If the questionnaire finds any issues that require further investigation, the employee may need to undergo a medical examination.
The purpose of the pre-employment assessment is to establish baseline health records for comparisons, assess how the job may affect employees’ health, ensure the medical fitness of the employees and reasonable adjustments for a better working environment.
2. Fitness For Work Assessment –
Fitness for work assessment/examinations is also known as fit for role health checks.
The main difference between pre-employment and fitness for work assessment is that the latter one is carried out on a regular basis to assess the working life of employees.
Particular roles like commercial pilots, train drivers, and heavy goods vehicle drivers need fitness for work assessment as a legal requirement to continue working in the role.
As the name suggests, the purpose of this type of assessment is to determine if an employee is medically fit to perform their task effectively and safely.
Fitness For Work Assessments Are Required When An Employee Has A Physical Condition That May –
➢ Prevent or hinder them from performing the job effectively,
➢ Make specific tasks and work environments unsafe for them and others,
➢ Could be made worse by the job activity
➢ Pose a risk to others in the community.
Some Of The Roles Require A Higher Degree Of Physical And Mental Capacity, And Thus It Needs Fitness For Work Assessment. Some Of The Examples Of Such Roles Can Be Described As Below –
➢ Work at height
➢ Confined workspace
➢ Work in extreme weather and temperature conditions
➢ Driving operations
➢ Lone working
➢ Driving class 2 vehicles or heavy good vehicles
➢ Piloting commercial aircraft
➢ Crane operation
➢ Forklift truck operation
➢ Night shift work
Fitness for work assessment is used for determining if an employee’s existing health condition could affect their performance and safety.
Moreover, it is also to check if an employee is fit to return to work following a prolonged period of sickness absence.
3. Return To Work And Sickness Absence Management –
Return to work and sickness absence management can also tie with fitness for work assessments.
The primary purpose of this assessment is to help an employer understand the nature of the absence. To make adjustments if required, so the employee and employer can ensure the job is carried out effectively and safely while addressing any issues that may result in further sickness absences.
Return to work and sickness absence management is an important assessment as it assists employees in getting back to the workplace while having the support that they need to carry out their role.
4. Health And Medical Surveillance –
Health and medical surveillance covers multiple types of checks and monitors employees’ health if they are exposed to health risks such as –
➢ Noise or vibration
➢ Ionizing radiation
➢ Hazardous substances like solvents, fumes, dust, and biological agents.
Health surveillance checks can help detect ill health effects in the early stages, followed by control measures to prevent them from worsening.
The requirement of health surveillance depends on the findings of the employer’s risk assessment.
If health risks remain significant even after the implementation of control measures, health surveillance is more likely to be required. Health surveillance checks can help employees understand the risks they may be prone to and they can highlight to the employer any symptoms they may have.
Health Surveillance Assessment Includes –
➢ Lung function tests (spirometry)
➢ Hearing tests (audiometry)
➢ Skin checks
➢ Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) checks
Medical surveillance is different from health surveillance as it has to be carried out by a relevant doctor.
5. Other Types of Assessments –
Other than occupational health assessments discussed above, there are also some types of assessment that covers health and risks such as –
➢ Mental health and stress management,
➢ Display screen equipment (DSE) and ergonomic workstation assessments,
➢ Musculoskeletal assessments,
➢ Visual and eye tests,
➢ Workplace wellbeing checks,
➢ Health and lifestyle checks.
Have You Heard Of Presenteeism?
Presenteeism is a term used to describe the situation where employees come to work but are not fully productive due to illness, injury, or personal issues. In other words, they are physically present at work, but their productivity and performance are reduced due to various factors that affect their health and wellbeing. Presenteeism can result in decreased productivity, reduced quality of work, and increased risk of accidents or errors in the workplace. It can also have negative effects on employee wellbeing, as employees may feel pressured to work despite not feeling well, which can exacerbate their health issues.
Having an occupational health program that can include capturing baseline health data, offering support and signposting to the most appropriate resources and support within your organisation and externally, employees can really feel that they have help available to them in a confidential and supportive way.
Let’s work together to support your workforce with a positive approach to health and wellbeing, creating a fantastic place to work that not only protects the safety of your employees but also cares for their wellbeing. The benefits of prioritizing employee health and wellbeing are huge for both employees and businesses, including increased job satisfaction, productivity, and retention. Let’s make your workplace a place where employees can thrive and feel valued!
Occupational health and safety is an essential component of any workplace. Ensuring the health and safety of employees not only benefits the individuals themselves but also contributes to the overall success of the organisation. One way to ensure occupational health and safety is to establish an occupational health program within your organisation.
Starting an occupational health program can be a daunting task, but with the free resources provided by Orbis Environmental, it is a task that can be made much easier. By assessing the needs of your organisation, developing a plan, training employees, implementing policies and procedures, and evaluating and monitoring the program, you can ensure the health and safety of your employees and see the benefits across your organisation.
Millions of workers in the UK suffer from ill health due to their occupations. Employers are responsible for the health of their employees as employees are valuable assets for any business.
An occupational health assessment is a way of ensuring that employees are fulfilling their obligations to their employees by minimizing the risks to their health.
It is advisable for employers to choose a competent occupational health provider and make sure that assessments are carried out aligning with the latest laws and regulations of health and safety standards.
Whether you are a big business or a small one, we have bespoke solutions for your health and safety.
At Orbis Environmental, we make sure that you have an appropriate assessment for your business and premises. To get a noise survey and noise assessment for your business premises, you can simply fill in a contact us form, and one of our experts will be in touch with you soon.