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.