How Health Surveillance can improve health and wellbeing across your business

Health Surveillance explained:

Health surveillance is a system of ongoing health checks, with specific checks which could be appropriate for the health risks your workers are exposed to. 

Regular employee health checks can reduce the risk of potential health problems for your workforce - and play an important role in your health-and-wellbeing strategy.

Health surveillance programmes are designed to assess your workforce's health, offer the right support to the people that need it - and demonstrate to your employees that their health is important to you and the business. 

Early detection and prevention of negative health events should be at the heart of your health surveillance programme, whilst also investigating or treating symptoms or illnesses that may be acute or develop over time.

Health surveillance can help your employees maintain optimal health and work at the peak of their abilities, so we've prepared some information on how health surveillance programmes work, how they might benefit your business and how to introduce these programmes successfully. 

Health Surveillance should be part of your health & wellbeing strategy

While health screening is voluntary, health surveillance is not and may be a condition of employment in a specific role or mandated by law.

HSE statistics show that, each year, more than one million workers are injured or made ill by their work. This can have serious effects on these individuals and their families, as well as employers, government and wider society.

The impacts can be measured in terms of human costs (the impact on the individual's quality of life and, for fatal injuries, loss of life), and financial costs, such as loss of production and healthcare costs. 

We should not think of health surveillance in isolation – it is one element of an organisation's Health and Wellbeing strategy, in which specific health hazards are identified at work.

Types of Health Surveillance

Health surveillance may be a legal requirement for employees who are exposed to:

  • Solvents, fumes, dust or any other substance that is hazardous to health
  • Noise
  • Vibration
  • Lead, asbestos, ionising radiation, compressed air

The scope and specifics of health surveillance will vary according to the defined hazard and are detailed within Health and Safety Executive (HSE) legislation.

How your business can benefit 

Health surveillance has many benefits, including:

  • Early detection of symptoms to prevent RIDDOR reportable diagnosed work conditions
  • Providing data to help employers evaluate health risk
  • Maintaining the effectiveness of control measures, via regular feedback from us on risk assessments and recommendations on any further action required
  • Enabling Occupational Health clinicians to regularly educate employees on safe and healthy working practices, including the correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and compliance with established safe systems in the workplace
  • Enabling employees to raise concerns about their work-related health issues, allowing them to be investigated and resolved
  • Reducing the risks and financial costs of work-related illness industrial claims

How do you know if Health Surveillance is required? 

The starting point will be your risk assessments. These will help you build a thorough understanding of your workplace hazards, identify who is at risk and determine which measures are required to control those risks.

Once risk assessments have been completed, and control measures are in place, your health surveillance programme should be set up according to Health Surveillance legal requirements to mitigate any other existing risks.

Setting up a Health Surveillance programme.

Where required, we can work with you to set up your health surveillance programme. Our qualified and experienced staff are on hand to implement the programme, providing you with reports and data on your employees' health risks with regard to hazards such as skin / respiratory irritants / sensitisers, noise or vibration.

This can also include working with you to formulate a robust health surveillance policy, which can be agreed with your employees.

Alternatively, if you require a review of your existing health surveillance programme and/or health surveillance policy, we can review and audit the programme and provide recommendations on how to ensure that this supports the health and wellbeing of your organisation in the longer term.

Please contact us if you would welcome support to set up or review your health surveillance programme.