Health surveillance

Some work activities present a degree of risk to the individuals involved in them. This can be due to the effects of substances, processes or materials on the health of those working with them. Health hazards that require health surveillance will have been identified during the risk assessment process.

Managers and supervisors are responsible for identifying employees who fall within the scope of health surveillance requirements. They know how to manage risks effectively, control exposure in the workplace and provide adequate monitoring.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines health surveillance as:

“Systematically watching out for early signs of work-related ill health in employees exposed to certain health risks”.

OH carries out health surveillance in order to help the employer manage risks by acting as a check on how the control measures are working and helping to pinpoint where further steps are required.

The aim is to prevent disease and disability, prevent progression of symptoms where symptoms of exposure are identified, and to help people stay at work.


Risk assessments will determine the job roles that require health surveillance at both the outset of employment and periodic review. Access to relevant Audiometry and Respiratory Health Questionnaires is via the Occupational Health Portal. Instructions about how to access the Portal are sent to employees by HR in the letter of appointment.

For details of Risk Assessment, please refer to: 

Hearing assessments

The method for detecting loss of hearing ability is through hearing checks or audiometry assessments.

Lung function assessment

Following exposure to solvents, fumes, vapours, dusts, biological agents and other substances hazardous to health, health surveillance may be needed under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002. Checks may include lung function testing.

Hand Arm Vibration

Exposure to powered equipment can lead to:

HAVS (Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome) which includes conditions such as vibration white finger and carpal tunnel syndrome

Whole Body Vibration which can lead to back pain or make pre-existing back pain worse.

Simple checks may include health questionnaire and employee reporting symptoms or more elaborate checks will include assessment carried out by the OH Department. For details of Risk Assessment please refer to the:

Contact us

Occupational Health Service
Room C132, Wheatley Campus
Wheatley OX33 1HX