What happens in a work health assessment?
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 Occupational work health assessments.
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.
Why have I been referred to Occupational Health?
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 consented to the referral. 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.
Do I have to attend the assessment?
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.
Who will I see in my Occupational Health assessment?
All occupational or work health assessments are performed by an Occupational Health nurse or doctor. These appointments tend to be mainly done as telephone assessments (with the nurse) or if you have been referred to the doctor, these can be either via telephone, Teams call or face-to-face.
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.
What will I need to take with me?
It would be helpful to bring or have on hand, 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.
Does a work health assessment involve a medical examination?
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:
- A blood pressure test
- A urine sample
- An eye test
- A respiratory health check
- A hearing test
For the most part, an Occupational Health assessment will involve talking about your health problems and answering questions.
What happens if I’m unable to attend the assessment?
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.
Will the content of the assessment remain confidential?
None of the information relating to the assessment will be shared with anyone outside 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.
How long will a work health assessment take?
It’s difficult to say but, on average, appointments are likely to take between 30-60 minutes. Sometimes it may take slightly longer if health problems are more complex.
What information is included in the final Occupational Health assessment?
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:
- A plan for returning to work
- Any timescales involved
- Temporary or permanent adjustments to the working environment
- Temporary or permanent support that might be needed
You can be sent a copy of the report, and any confidential information won’t be shared without your consent.
What happens then?
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.
Final thoughts about work health assessments
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,