In order to safeguard workers, the cause of occupational health risks must first be known. Once the main risks, which include musculo-skeletal disorders as well as potential complications caused by excessive dust and noise, are determined then action can be taken to risk assess these areas individually in the same way as safety issues.
It is important to determine not only the individuals or groups of individuals which are most likely to be exposed to these risks but also the degree to of this potential exposure and the likely consequences resulting from it.
Through analysis of these records, a manager can determine if there are certain jobs or parts of the workplace where absence tends to be higher which may indicate the potential of an occupational health risk within an organisation. While some degree of caution needs to be exercised when analysing absence patterns, this can unveil common issues including high levels of back pain or work related upper limb disorder symptoms to be associated with certain types of work.
More detail may be available from medically-certificated absences, which tend to be over seven days, than from self-certificated absence. However, it is important to bear in mind that absence certificates are mainly completed by GPs who have little experience or training in occupational health. Some sensitivity may also be needed about personal information for individuals that is protected by data protection laws.
There are many examples of successful intervention in HSE guidance. Often the process of managing occupational health only requires good communication between managers and workers. There is usually no need to employ specialist assistance or experts although involvement of occupational physicians and specialists can be cost effective in appropriate circumstances.
C&C Consulting Services Ltd will be only too pleased to offer clients more specific advice and guidance in the area of occupational health.