SC24 - Health and surveillance
Occupational Health Surveillance and Health Screening Medicals
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Absence arising from work related, or occupational, ill health or disease in the UK far exceeds the impact of that arising from occupational injuries. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reports that in 2007/8 2.1 million employees were suffering from illness they believed was caused or made worse by their current or past work, over half being musculo skeletal upper limb and back disorders.
While the cost and impact of an injury is easily related to a specific incident and the effects generally immediate, occupational ill health or diseases are typically characterised by cumulative and low level exposure to hazards for which the impact can take many years to manifest. Occupational ill health or diseases are also characterised by their long term or chronic nature resulting in permanent disability and/or suffering affecting an individual's quality of life. The consequences of long term absence arising from occupational ill health or disease can be financially significant to both employer and employee.
Most occupational ill health or disease can be prevented by taking effective steps to control the hazards to health that arise from for example: chemicals; radiation; display screen equipment; manual handling; vibrating machinery; noise etc.
The STFC is committed to minimising the incidence of occupational ill health or disease through the effective control of such hazards and the adoption of proactive supporting strategies to demonstrate that control measures remain effective and to confirm the medical fitness of individuals to take on and continue in particular roles.
These supporting strategies include:
- Health Surveillance; and
- Health Screening.
This code aims to deliver consistent occupational health standards across all STFC sites and meet the occupational health requirements set out in legislation, for example:
- The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations, 2002.
- The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, 1999.
- The Noise at Work Regulations, 2005.
- Ionising Radiation Regulations, 1999
Occupational Health service provision is available to all STFC staff but may vary in the manner it is delivered depending on location, from full time on site provision through to contracted off site services.
All STFC staff, and tenants, who are responsible for staff or others whose work exposes them to hazards for which health surveillance and health screening is required to confirm medical fitness of individuals to undertake work with these hazards.
Contractors, tenants, visitors and facility users shall ensure that they undertake necessary health surveillance and screening prior to undertaking activities on STFC sites where these are necessary.
This code does not address the particular management controls that should be employed to minimise the potential for occupational ill health or disease these are covered by specific codes relating to those hazards for example: Radiation Management; Manual Handling; management of Noise etc where the need for health surveillance will be noted.
3.1 Health Surveillance
The process of developing and implementing systematic, regular and appropriate procedures to detect the early signs of work-related ill health, where they exist, among employees exposed to certain health hazards in the work place. As appropriate, act upon the results of such procedures in determining their fitness to carry out designated tasks or confirm the effectiveness of measures employed to control a potential health hazard.
3.2 Health Screening
Any test or examination, whether legally required or not, intended to establish an individuals baseline health and confirm their initial and ongoing suitability for a particular job / task. This process may rely on paper screening (e.g. questionnaires to determine pre-existing medical conditions), physical examinations or both. Such screening would be employed to ensure that individuals' with particular medical conditions are not endangered by the nature of their duties for example using overhead cranes; driving fork lift trucks; or working at height/climbing, see Appendix 1, and confirm their on-going health.
3.3 Appointed Doctor
Under regulation 39(5) of the Ionising Radiation Regulations, 1999, a registered medical practitioner appointed in writing by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for a specific STFC site.
3.4 Classified Person
An individual designated as such, under regulation 20(1) of the Ionising Radiation Regulations, 1999.
3.5 Health Record
In relation to an employee, the HSE defined record of health surveillance of that employee maintained by the STFC in accordance with regulation 24(3) of the Ionising Radiation Regulations, 1999, or the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations, 2002.
4.1 Line Managers and Supervisors shall:
4.1.1 In undertaking Risk Assessment of work, as defined in STFC SHE Code 6, Risk Management or any other STFC SHE code, ensure that specific consideration is given to health risks arising from work undertaken. Appendix 1 details the requirement for health surveillance, and health screening for common hazards. Where work is undertaken by contractors, ensure that they are subject to relevant health surveillance and screening for the hazards they work with on STFC sites by their employers.
4.1.2 As appropriate seek the guidance and advice of the STFC SHE Group or Occupational Health teams with respect to the need for health surveillance.
4.1.3 Ensure that all staff have sufficient information, instruction and training to understand the potential for, symptoms of and the need to report all instances of occupational ill health or disease arising from the hazards likely to be encountered during the course of their work.
4.1.4 Ensure all new staff undertake, as detailed in Appendix 1, pre-employment medicals and all staff undertake health screening and medicals necessary for the hazards likely to be encountered during the course of their work.
4.1.5 Immediately report all actual or suspected instances of occupational ill health or disease to the STFC SHE Group see STFC SHE Code 5: Incident reporting and investigation and local Occupational Health teams.
4.2 STFC Staff shall:
4.2.1 Report to their line manager or supervisor any pre-existing medical or health condition that may be exacerbated as a result of their STFC employment.
4.2.2 Follow all instruction and training, and safe systems of work or operating instructions, with respect to the potential health hazards associated with their work.
4.2.3 Report promptly to their supervisor or line manger any symptoms or ill health which they believe may be related to their work, for example cough, wheeze or rash.
4.3 Occupational Health shall:
4.3.1 Provide pro-active and reactive advice, guidance and support to line managers with respect to occupational health hazards, clinical investigation of incidents of occupational ill health.
4.3.2 Co-ordinate and complete pre-employment medicals, health surveillance and health screening as requested by line managers. Thereafter manage the periodic recall of individuals for heath surveillance, statutory inspections and health screening.
4.3.3 Maintain records of all: health surveillance, health screening and health enquiries undertaken ensuring appropriate levels of confidentiality for 50 years.
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