Is ill health affecting the way that you work? Have you been off work for a length of time due to illness? Or maybe your job is making an illness worse. For any of these reasons, your employer might recommend an occupational health assessment, also known as a work health assessment.
They are basically an assessment performed by a medical professional, the aim of which is to advise employers on an employee's health and make recommendations on any adjustments that might make the working environment safer and healthier.
Many people worry about this because they might not understand the reasoning behind the referral or don’t know what the assessment will involve.
Hopefully, this blog will help to alleviate some of those concerns and ensure that you feel less anxious and more relaxed about having a work health assessment.
Your manager or HR advisor should have discussed the referral with you and explained the reasoning behind it.
You wouldn’t be expected to attend a work health assessment without having signed a referral form. Although when employees are off sick, this can sometimes be difficult.
If you are ever unsure, before agreeing to the assessment you should discuss it with your manager.
It’s not compulsory, although if you decline the appointment then decisions may be made about your employment without the benefit of any professional advice from an occupational health specialist.
All occupational or work health assessments are performed by an occupational health nurse or doctor.
They will check the details on your referral form, discuss the contents with you and ask you about your current health problems.
They will also chat about your job, the activities involved and identify the areas where you might be experiencing difficulties.
It would be helpful to bring any medical reports about your condition, details of the medication you are taking and any prescription glasses that you might wear.
Further information about your health may be required from your GP or specialist consultant. This can only be provided with your consent and this will be explained during the assessment.
You’re not here to receive a clinical diagnosis. That would be undertaken by your GP or a specialist consultant. Therefore, a full medical examination won’t normally be necessary.
However, in some cases, it may be helpful to examine an injury or disability and assess your mobility.
Depending on the nature of your work, the following may be required:
For the most part, an occupational health assessment will involve talking about your health problems and answering questions.
If you are too unwell to attend an assessment, it may be possible to arrange a telephone consultation.
You should contact your manager or HR advisor as soon as possible.
None of the information relating to the assessment will be shared with anyone outside of the occupational health assessment procedure.
The nurses and doctors involved are governed by the usual codes of conduct and legislation relating to confidentiality and data protection.
It’s difficult to say but, on average, appointments are likely to take around an hour. Sometimes it may take slightly longer if health problems are more complex.
The referral form from your manager or HR advisor will include specific questions that will be asked in the assessment.
The written report will include the answers to these questions as well as any other information provided during the appointment.
Suggestions in the report might include:
You can be sent a copy of the report and any confidential information won’t be shared without your consent.
Your employer will arrange a meeting to discuss the content of the report and any recommendations that have been made.
They can then decide what to action and agree on processes that will prompt a return-to-work programme that is in the best interests of everyone involved.
It’s important to remember that the purpose of a work health assessment is to ensure that you as an employee can return to work and continue to do so in a way that will have the least impact on your health issues.
By approaching an occupational health assessment positively and optimistically, you can ensure that it will benefit both you and your employer.
If you have any further questions about work health assessments or our other occupational health services, contact the team at Fusion.
Posted by Clare Hurley on
31 January 2019 at 11:00 AM
Health & WellbeingHealth SurveillanceOccupational Health