Jean Fisher, RGN OHNC, Diploma in managing health services, is the founder and owner of The Occupational Health Business Ltd. An Occupational Health Nurse for over 35 years and passionate about improving the way employee health is managed in the workplace. Jean builds close relationships with clients so that regular ongoing support is provided.
Occupational health is the branch of medicine specialising in employee health advice and the diseases of occupations. It is an early clinical intervention to give advice on reasonable adjustments and fitness for work.
Some employees have seen a significant change to symptoms affecting mental health, others have developed ongoing long Covid symptoms and then there are those employees with existing medical conditions, who have not been able to have treatment or investigations due to the reduction in NHS services. In other words, the workplace has changed beyond recognition and using occupational health support is essential to navigate the changed landscape of fitness for work.
Our services can support you in the following ways:-
Return to Work Advice
Employers are looking at how to bring employees back to the workplace, but many employees have concerns about returning to work due to a medical condition which they believe puts them at risk. So how can managers make the right decisions?
We can carry out a specific risk assessment with medical input and provide a full report. The risk assessment will give clear advice to managers regarding fitness to return to work and what reasonable adjustments may be required. We can support employers to make the right decisions on work capability and fitness for work.
It is essential to firstly Identify all barriers to a return to work with your employees and we can provide more specific advice where needed. In our experience, what initially appears to be the reason why employees are on sick leave is often very wide of the mark.
In addition, specific COVID-19 return to work assessments may be needed for employees who have either had symptoms or been tested and diagnosed with COVID-19. There may be a significant change to their health and this needs to be properly assessed as work capability may have changed.
All home working employees need to complete a Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessment so any problems which may develop into musculoskeletal conditions are highlighted. Occupational health can give advice on any identified issue and can carry out remote home working risk assessments also.
As Public Health Nurses, we can provide advice on risk assessments and appropriate personal protective equipment, distancing and hygiene to ensure that appropriate cleaning measures are in place to make the workplace safer.
Overall, OH services can play a key role in advising on the prevention of illness by advising on workplace health and wellbeing strategies.
It is important to remember that the risks to people’s health from the coronavirus pandemic are psychological as well as physical. Employees may have anxiety about the ongoing health crisis, have a fear of infection and worry about family members and children. Occupational Health have an important role in supporting both employees and managers during this time.
Social isolation due to the lockdown has meant that some employees will have experienced challenging domestic situations, such as juggling childcare or caring for a vulnerable relative, as well as financial worries if their partner has had a reduction or a loss of income. Some employees will have experienced illness themselves or suffered a bereavement. All of this can have a profound effect on work capability.
Even if staff have carried on working from home, they may now need to adjust to working in a shared environment with colleagues once again. Most people will need a period of readjustment when returning to the workplace. Some members of staff may have concerns about travelling on public transport and will need a specialist occupational health risk assessment to ensure appropriate support is put in place.
Occupational Health services are most effective when delivered in partnership with an organisation. This enables line managers and Occupational Health to adopt a shared perspective and allows Occupational Health advice to be an integral element of the business rather than just an add on.
Occupational Health Reports
How to book an OH appointment.
Booking an appointment is easy. Complete the referral form with your employee. A referral is made as a duty of care to the employee also to provide support and advice to management. Consent is not needed to write to the GP. We don’t need to do this as we are experienced and medically competent to provide an occupational health opinion on fitness for work.
The reports you will receive from The Occupational Health Business will give you clear actionable advice on how to manage your employee. Information on the following will be included in reports as a minimum.
- Fitness for specific role.
- Expected return to work date.
- Covid considerations.
- Proactive rehabilitation advice.
- Implications of the Equality Act.
- Likelihood of future absences.
- If the condition is work related.
- What reasonable adjustments are indicated.
- Advice to Managers regarding any medical condition.
- If Ill Health Retirement is recommended.
We will provide meaningful reports to so that cases can be moved forward after every appointment. The report you will receive from The OH Business will assist you to manage each case with confidence. It will ensure that there is a coordinated approach to attendance management.
The requirements of all relevant employment law will be complied with, specifically but not limited to: –
- The Data Protection Act 1988/GDPR Regulations 2018
- The Access to Medical Records Act 1988
- The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1988
- The Human Rights Act 1988
- The Equality Act 2010
Occupational Health Records and GDPR
The processing of personal data can only be justified if it is carried out in accordance with a Schedule 2 condition. Compliance with a Schedule 3 condition is required for the processing of sensitive personal data. In the GDPR the equivalent provisions are contained in Articles 6 and 9, respectively.
In Occupational Health, the processing of data will not be made under consent condition but under Article 9 (2) (h): processing is necessary for the purposes of preventive or occupational medicine, for the assessment of the working capacity of the employee, medical diagnosis, the provision of health or social care or treatment or the management of health or social care systems or services.
Employees have the right to see any information held and to do so, employees can request copies of their records via an access request.