What is health surveillance?
Health surveillance is a system of ongoing health checks* and is important to help:-
Is health surveillance required in my workplace?
Health surveillance is required if all of the following criteria are met:-
In addition, certain health and safety legislation stipulates a requirement to consider health surveillance for a number of work related hazards, particularly for employees who are exposed to:-
How do I set up a system of health surveillance?
Where risk assessments identify the need for health surveillance, it is important to establish the form this should take so that it adequately addresses the risks and potential ill-health effects employees may be exposed to.
Employers should involve employees and their safety representatives in the setting up of health surveillance and provide them with information on the purpose and importance of health surveillance and how that might be undertaken.
Health surveillance might involve one or more of the following:-
What should I do with the results?
Where, as a result of health surveillance, an employee is found to have an identifiable disease or adverse health effect the employer must act on those results, e.g.:-
Health records must be retained for all employees under health surveillance. These must be kept for at least 40 years from the date of last entry as there is often a long period of time between exposure and the onset of ill-health.
*Other legal requirements for monitoring health, not formally classed as health surveillance include eyesight tests for users of Display Screen Equipment, health fitness assessments for night workers and fitness to drive or operate cranes and forklift trucks. There is no specific legal requirement to carry out health surveillance for, e.g. manual handling, work related upper limb disorders and work related stress. In these cases other methods of monitoring the health of employees should be provided, e.g. general health check-ups, checking sickness records, encouraging early reporting of symptoms.
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