A Quick Guide To Occupational Health
First things first. Occupational Health Physicians are doctors – let’s get that out of the way for starters!
I admit, the fact that I have to say that may just be me showing my naivety. However, I remember when I was first introduced to the idea of occupational health. I cynically thought that their link to the workplace would somehow mean that they get an easier ride to their qualifications.
Occupational Health Doctors and Physicians have their own particular aims and objectives tied to their speciality domain. They are still much more qualified and experienced than your local GP when it comes to diagnosing and advising on a multitude of problems. More so than you (and certainly, I) may have first given them credit for!
What Are The Objectives Of Occupational Health Professionals?
Of course, they would be correct in citing there’s much more to their profession than this, but the goals, or objectives, of an Occupational Health professional, could be summarised as:
- Identify and prevent work-related illnesses.
- Provide emergency response to incidents on site.
- To proactively work towards improving the health of a workforce.
- Advise on the fitness of employees to do their jobs.
Occupational Health professionals may be hired by a company, they may be part of a consultancy that works with different businesses, or they may be self-employed individuals. Though they will all be expected to have extensive knowledge, you may find that the best Occupational Health doctor for your business will be someone that has specific experience of your industry. Naturally, that means they will know your particular sector, its workplace and any associated hazards.
As a branch of medicine that deals heavily with the prevention of job-related injuries and illnesses, as well as the treatment, Occupational Health physicians will often work closely with Health & Safety Departments. The scope of Occupational Health goes much further, however. Occupation Health Physicians provide a high standard of on-site medical care. They can also identify and prevent many illnesses that do not relate to simple cause and effect. Or, more crucially, that may be specific to individuals.
An Occupational Health physician focuses on the relationship between the patient and their workplace to ensure that both employers and employees can work together successfully. It is important to bear in mind that an Occupational Health practitioner is not on the side of the employee or the employer. Instead, they act as an objective specialist; assessing and advising on what is best for both parties in relation to a person’s health and work.
Duty Of Care
A company is not responsible for the health of its employees in general, but there is a duty of care to ensure that workers are not made ill by their work. As we know, company success and employee health are not always synonymous. Therefore, fine-tuning is often required to find the perfect balance between an employer’s wishes and the employee’s needs. As such, Occupation Health professionals advise companies and individuals on how to move forward successfully in the workplace, without sacrificing anyone’s health.
As we all know, trying to get a GP appointment is more difficult than getting an audience with The Pope in some areas of the country. When employees are off sick, it can hit small businesses hard. Seeking Occupational Health advice could be an alternative resource that although would have a monetary value might help get your team back to work quicker.
If you would like to know more or have a chat about sickness absence in your workplace, please contact me on 02382 025160 or email [email protected]
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