How can OH support and advise managers with their responsibilities on occupational health and health issues such as fitness and capability to work?
Occupational health should be delivered from an impartial view point. It is our aim to ensure that the workplace does not have a detrimental impact on the employee’s health and that the employee is fit to work within the environment they are employed. It is about giving objective, definitive and actionable advice. We understand the health conditions and, by time spent in the working environment, we understand the risks that employees may be exposed to. Therefore we can give management advice on adjustments they can make to assist an employee return to work or remain in work.
Occupational health is about educating the employee and giving the managers the knowledge and tools to allow them to manage their employee more effectively. All advice given from OH with regards to adjustments in the workplace, will be as far as is operationally feasible, as we do understand that you have a business to run. When working with a new client, we would expect to spend time with senior management, gaining an understanding of the company policies and procedures, and in particular the absence policy. We would also gain an understanding of what adjustments can be accommodated and when writing our reports, we would use this knowledge to provide advice that is appropriate to your business, suggesting phased return to work programmes as applicable.
With employees, occupational health can sometimes be where health issues are discovered or the real reason for absence is uncovered. We work with the employees to signpost them to the appropriate place for treatment, which could be immediate referral to GP, physiotherapy or counselling. Wellbeing advice will also be given, with suggested tools that employees can use. This can be dietary advice, advice about alcohol, smoking, exercise, sleep hygiene, good posture or ways to safeguard their mental health. Occupational health should not be a tick box exercise; it should be a service that is fully integrated with every section of the workforce; one that adds value, gives knowledge and makes a meaningful difference to the health of employees.
During a phased return to work, we would continue to work with the referring manager and the employee and, should the manager need further support, we can complete a review of the employee and provide advice and guidance.
Occupational health is there to support the manager and the employee but it will still remain the manager’s responsibility to manage their employees, through robust advice from the OH team.
For more information on health promotion events, sickness absence management, health assessments and bespoke training packages, please contact us for a no obligations conversation on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0844 481 0093 where our team will be happy to help.