WEU Occupational Health Advice

What do Occupational Health professionals do?

Occupational Health is a specific discipline in healthcare which relates to the health and wellbeing of people at work. It aims to prevent and remove ill-health and develop solutions to support people with health issues in the workplace.

What do Occupational Health professionals do?

  • Undertake pre-employment health assessments to establish a safe system of work for prospective employees
  • Offer vaccination programmes based on hazards/risks in the work environment
  • Undertake statutory health surveillance programmes when employees may be exposed to hazardous substances or noise at work
  • Provide independent advice on any aspect of an individual’s health which is impacting on them at work
  • Develop health and wellbeing strategies/policies to promote and maintain optimal work health   
  • Advise on compliance in relation to the Equality Act (2010) which includes disability, age discrimination and pregnancy.
  • Give advice regarding any potential workplace adjustments, either temporary or permanent, in relation to an individual’s health at work.
  • Occupational Health professionals often get confused with Occupational Therapists; the 2 areas of work are not the same, but do sometimes overlap. More information on Occupational Therapy can be found here

Why do individuals get referred to Occupational Health?

Firstly, anyone being referred to Occupational Health by their manager/HR should have been given a very clear explanation for the reason(s) of referral. It is usual that an individual has been given sight of the referral document and a copy of the referral. If this is not the case then an individual should contact their manager to clarify or take advice from the Union if required.

Individuals do not need to be absent from work to be referred to Occupational Health, as it is reason enough to receive support and advice if a person is experiencing any health problem which is impacting upon their health at work.

What should I expect from an appointment with Occupational Health?

You would usually be offered an appointment with an Occupational Health nurse/practitioner/physician either in person or via MS Teams/Zoom/telephone. There will be a discussion of the reason(s) for referral and a confidential discussion regarding your health. Any confidential information should not be included in a report back to management/HR without your explicit consent. The report is for their guidance, and may included recommendations of support and adjustments to help maintain a safe system of work. An employee would usually be offered to view the report before it is sent to management/HR. If this is not offered then an individual may wish to contact the Union for advice.

Can I bring anyone with me to the Occupational Health appointment?

Occupational Health usually offer the individual to opportunity to be accompanied by a friend or Trade Union representative if required. If this is not offered, and should a member wish this to occur, please contact the Union office for advice.