OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH. Manager s Guide for Occupational Health

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1 OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH Manager s Guide for Occupational Health V7.0 July 2016

2 Manager s Guide to Effective Use of Occupational Health Services: Contents: Introduction What type of help can an Occupational Health assessment provide an Employer with? What may an Occupational Health assessment not be helpful for? What type of questions should I ask in an Occupational Health referral? Access to information for employees How to make a referral Cancellation policy Employees arriving late for clinic appointments Employees too ill to travel to clinics Employees needing special access requirements RIDDOR reporting Health Surveillance further assessments and reviews What to do when an employee refuses Occupational Health assessment or withdraws their consent for Occupational Health report release 2

3 Introduction Welcome! Health Assured s Occupational Health Service provides independent and impartial professional medical advice to employers and employees about health and work issues. This guidance provides you with the information that will help you get the best out of our service. What type of help can an Occupational Health assessment provide an Employer with? We are an advisory rather than a treatment service. We consist of a team of Occupational Health Advisors (specialist nurses) and a network of Occupational Health Doctors with special training and experience. Our team of professionals can provide advice and guidance on: Assessing your employee s ability to work due to health or disability reasons and providing you with a written report following the assessment. This will help clarify the situation and help you manage the case. Which specific tasks or duties your employee can or cannot manage safely. Estimated timeframes for returning to work, and returning to normal hours and duties. Whether the work that an employee is doing is causing or exacerbating their illness. Suggestions for adjustments or job modification for the employer to consider to support the employee to continue working. An employee s rehabilitation back to work after a period of sickness absence with suggestions for support, work adjustments or modifications for the you to consider. Advising employers on their legal duties towards ill or disabled employees e.g.: Equality Act (disability), Control of Noise at Work Regulations, COSHH, Control of Vibration at Work Act, RIDDOR. The likelihood of the employee s attendance or performance improving if it is reduced. Pension medical assessments - Early release of a pension on medical grounds. Medical assessments to prevent injuries or industrial diseases occurring in the workplace (statutory health surveillance and fitness medicals) e.g. hearing screening to prevent industrial deafness, respiratory screening to prevent Occupational Asthma, skin assessments to prevent Occupational dermatitis, forklift truck medicals or confined space medicals to prevent injuries. Advice regarding fitness of an employee to attend a disciplinary meeting with management. What may an Occupational Health assessment not be helpful for? An Occupational Health assessment can be very helpful for an employer as it can clarify complex health and work issues. Advice can be provided to employers about managing and supporting an employee in the work place to optimise their performance and attendance. However, there are some things that we are unable to provide. We are unable to; 3

4 Give you highly detailed medical information about an employee s health or diagnosis of a medical condition and their treatment. The purpose of Occupational Health is to provide guidance about an employee s capability to work, and the effect of a condition or treatment on the employee s work performance, attendance or safety. Employees are entitled to privacy about their personal medical information. Give a second opinion on diagnosis or treatment when an employee is unhappy with their GP s advice. Provide specialist investigations such as blood tests or X-rays for an employee s symptoms. Give you definitive advice about Equality Act disability status this is a decision that employers and courts of law make. We can give you advice about daily living activities, length of impairments etc. to assist you however with your decision. We cannot manage your employee for you. Once the employer has received the report they must then reflect on it and form a management plan. We give advice but the employer may well have other operational, business or legal needs to consider. Either before or after an Occupational Health assessment, if you would like Human Resources or Employment Law advice we can provide this service separately and free of charge (within limits) - please contact us to schedule a call with our specialists. What type of questions should I ask in an Occupational Health referral? Consider what information you need to be able to manage the situation effectively, legally and fairly. We have suggested some routine questions on the referral form e.g. opinion on fitness to return to work, timeframes for return to normal hours and duties, adjustments/modifications to consider, disability status. Employers do not normally need detailed information about an employee s personal medical condition to be able to manage an employee; usually you need advice about what they can or cannot do, timeframes, and suggestions for support to help them achieve this. We recommend you ask a maximum of 10 questions to obtain a high quality report. If the case is very complex or there is a requirement for you to ask additional questions this may incur a charge for a double appointment in some circumstances. If this applies to a case you have referred, a member of our team will be in contact with you to discuss this prior to proceeding. If you need some assistance or want to confidentially discuss a referral please contact us and our Occupational Health Advisors will be pleased to help. Access to information for employees Under The Data Protection Act and other laws, employees have the right to request a copy of any information that we hold about them. This means they can request to see any information that you have provided on your referral or any correspondence from yourselves. Therefore, please bear this in mind when you communicate with us provide clear factual information. If you feel you have reasonable evidence of an employee having a problem then please discuss your concerns openly with them and put it in the referral. A typical situation is when an employee has a suspected alcohol problem if you have some evidence (odour/behaviour/performance/attendance etc.), even if not conclusive then please tell the employee of your concerns and write this in your referral. 4

5 How to make a referral 1. Please complete: the management referral form and employee consent which you will have been sent, or contact your HR department for them. Please contact us if you do not have a copy of these forms on 2. Provide the employee with a copy of the Employee Frequently Asked Questions document. 3. Discuss the form and show it to the employee so that any concerns are clarified prior to submission. Information on the form should be open, honest and transparent. There should be no surprises for an employee when they have their assessment otherwise they may refuse and you may lose your consultation fee. Remember anything written about an employee may be used in a tribunal. 4. Include the job description, attendance record, and any other relevant information e.g. doctor s letters/fit notes. 5. Scan and send them to Cancellation policy Once we have received the referral form and completed consent forms, we will contact your employee to arrange an appointment for either a telephone consultation or a clinic appointment. If your employee is unable to make the allocated appointment time, you or your employee must contact Health Assured providing at least 2 working days notice (see the appointment letter as clinics vary). If an appointment is cancelled within the cancellation period (2 days for telephone consultations, 2-5 working days for clinic appointments), we reserve the right to charge your company up to a maximum of the full fee for the consultation. If it is your company policy to pass the charge on to your employee please ensure that you discuss this with them at the time of gaining consent. Employees arriving late for clinic appointments If your employee arrives late for a Doctors clinic appointment, the Occupational Health Doctor may feel they have insufficient time to assess them properly and may refuse to see them. Occupational Health appointments typically are allocated to minutes long. The Doctor may decide that the appointment is effectively cancelled and the cancellation fee will then be passed to you as the employer. Therefore, please ensure you communicate with your employee that arrival must be 10 minutes prior to the appointment. Some employers decide that it is helpful to arrange the transport for the employee. Employees too ill to travel to clinics Please tell us in the management referral form if your employee is too ill to travel to a clinic appointment. We may be able to offer telephone consultations and home visits. There will be an additional charge for home visits. Employees needing special access requirements If a clinic appointment has been arranged with a Doctor and your employee has mobility or access difficulties, please either make this clear on the management referral form or phone us on to check whether disabled access is available or not. We aim to have our entire network of clinics providing disabled access but some unfortunately do not. 5

6 RIDDOR reporting It is the employer s duty to report work-related injuries and dangerous occurrences under the RIDDOR law. Sometimes a further Occupational Health assessment may be suggested and it is for the employer to follow this up. Not all injuries need to be reported however. Please see for more details on what type of incidents/injuries and how to report them. If you need advice please contact us on Health surveillance further assessments and reviews After a health surveillance assessment (e.g. hearing, HAVS, respiratory, skin testing) you will be given advice about whether an employee is fit for their role, and whether a further assessment or review is required and when. It is your responsibility as an employer (unless agreed previously with us contractually) to request the further assessment. This may require a face-face appointment with an Occupational Health Advisor or Occupational Health Doctor. Please contact us to arrange or discuss these types of assessments. What to do when an employee refuses to consent to an Occupational Health assessment or release of report This is a rare event but happens sometimes. When an employer is trying to manage a case involving an employee with health affecting their ability to work (e.g. performance/attendance/safety problem or request for adjustments) they will sometimes need Occupational Health advice to help them manage the case and support the employee effectively. If the employee declines the opportunity to have a confidential specialist Occupational Health assessment (or report release) then this is their right. In the rare event that this happens then we would suggest the employer has to assess the situation individually (with involvement from HR and H&S where necessary) and include the following: Try and build up rapport and trust between the employer and employee - A typical reason that employees refuse an Occupational Health or assessment or report being released is that they fear that the employer will dismiss them or treat them badly or they are being punished or victimised. Reassurance that there has to be a fair, non-discriminatory sickness absence policy for the benefit of all staff, and that wherever possible the employer will be acting to support the employee to recover and resume work/improve performance is often of help. Always try and meet face-to-face so that the presence of substance misuse/severe mental illness is checked. Assessing ability and safety to work - Consider if the employee is in a suitable state of health to be able to work? - E.g. intoxicated, major conduct issues adversely affecting others, unacceptable quality of work, serious safety concerns. If not consider suspension on medical grounds. Duty of care to employee is the employee at serious risk of life-threatening injury or self-harm? If so the employer must act to protect them. E.g. restrict from certain duties, suspend from work, inform next of kin, GP or police (who can also arrange an urgent psychiatric assessment). Duty of care to others is the employee a serious risk to others? E.g. vulnerable clients, colleagues, either their own or other s children (e.g. single parent intoxicated or with serious mental illness who is alone with young children at home). The employer must act to protect them e.g. inform next of kin/police/social services/gp. Children and vulnerable people in the care of our employees must be kept safe. Equality Act (disability) - Assess if the employee is likely to be covered or not there are checklists available. Please do an internet search for Gallop vs. Newport case law. 6

7 Adjustments - Ask the employee whether there is any support or adjustments that they need at present to enable them to work and then consider if reasonable or not. Health Assured s Occupational Health clinical staff are always available to discuss this type of problem if required please contact us on the number or detailed on the final page of this document. Summary: The Occupational Health staff wish to provide a good level of service and assist both employers with their management of staff with health conditions, and employees to assist them keep well and working. If you have a query or don t understand or disagree with the report or information from us please just contact us to discuss. We are more than happy to help. 7

8 Contact Us The Health Assured Team can be contacted on or by ing The Peninsula Victoria Place Manchester M4 4FB T: F:

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