Employee Guide to Occupational Health

Employee Guide to Occupational Health

I have had many questions about why an employer would ask one of his workers to go and see Occupational Health or talk to one of the Doctors or Nurses about their attendance levels.  Employers don’t help by not explaining the role of Occupational Health or using the appointment by way of a threat.

This employee guide to occupational health sets out the benefits of talking to health professionals and what to expect.

Manager’s Role

Managers don’t understand why employees are afraid to go to Occupational Health – the first thought that goes through their mind is that their job is in danger. Or maybe the employer mistrusts their health issues.

This could not be further from the truth because employers will have paid to have us, as experts, there to help and advise them on how to treat employees fairly and consistently. The employer, your manager, must act lawfully and assist the employee to remain at work.

Workers are an expensive commodity. You’re trained and coached to play an important role in the company.  It is expensive to replace you for one thing, for another, you are probably good at your job – without you, things don’t get done.

Why Send Me to Occupational Health Then?

There are three main reasons:

  • Manager’s do not understand all health conditions.
  • Employees sometimes do not know what is best for them, for example, to stay at work or go home and rest.
  • GP’s can’t understand your workplace and options available for you at work. Could a job change to accommodate a disability, can you return to work on reduced hours to aid recovery?

Occupational Health professionals are fully trained Doctors and Nurses with extra training on dealing with work problems – they will respect your medical confidentiality and discuss the options available with you and write a report for your manager.  But they will always work to clear ethical guidance.

You can get as much out of the occupational health appointment as your Manager.

If you are worried about seeing occupational health and what their purpose is – watch this video explaining the role.

Further Advice and Reading

November 2018

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