Occupational Health: Core Areas of Knowledge and Competence, Part 2

OHA’s can contribute by helping managers to manage sickness shortage more effectively. The nurse may be involved in helping to train line operators and supervisors in how to best use the OH service, in the way to refer staff, what type of information will be required, what to expect coming from occupational health. By developing transparent referral procedures, being sure medical confidentiality is maintained and that the workers’ rights are usually respected the OHA can do much to ensure that employees related for assessment due to sickness absence are comfortable with accomplishing this.

OH nurses, with their close relationship with workers, perception of the working environment and trends in ill-health in the provider are often in a good position to advise management for preventing sickness absence. In my experience referral to General Users have a limited use for work related issues, and also gain best results by as well as keeping the GP alert, referring to a specialist occupational physician.

Planned rehabilitation strategies, may help to ensure safe return to work for employees who have been absent via work due to ill-health or injury. The nurse is oftentimes the key person in the rehabilitation programme who will, with the boss and individual employee, complete a risk assessment, devise the very rehabilitation programme, monitor progress and communicate with the individual, the main OH physician and the line manager. Nurses have also get involved in introducing proactive rehabilitation strategies that aim to recognize early changes in health before such conditions result in deficiency from work. Improving and sustaining working ability features many groups, the individual, the organization and society, as great priced absence and other health care costs are avoided.

In many cases the actual OH nurse has to work within the organization as the purchasers advocate in order ensuring that managers appreciate fully the value of strengthening the health of the workforce. OH nurses have the skills recommended to undertake this work and may develop areas of special attraction.

The occupational health nurse may develop pro-active methods to help the workforce maintain or restore their work flexibility. New workers, older workers, women returning to work using pregnancy or workers who have been unemployed for a prolonged length of time may all benefit from health advice or a planned course of work hardening exercises to help maintain or fix their work ability even before any health problems arise. Ever more the problems faced by industry are of a psychosocial aspect and these can be even more complex and costly to deal with. OHIO nurses, working at the company level, are in a good job to give advice to management on strategies that can be taken to improve the psycho-social health and wellbeing of workers.

Health and safety

The exact OHA can have a role to play in developing health and safety practices. Where large, or high risk, organizations have their own private health and safety specialists the OHA can work closely with these proefficeints to ensure that the nurses expertise in health, risk diagnosis, health surveillance and environmental health management is absolutely utilized into the health and safety strategy. Occupational health nurses are generally trained in health and safety legislation, risk management and the control of company health hazards and can therefore make a useful contribution to the over-all management of health and safety at work, with particular emphasis on ‘health’ risk assessment.

Hazard identification

The nurse often includes close contact with the workers and is aware of changes to the working ecosystem. Because of the nurses expertise in the effects of work on health they are simply in a good position to be involved in hazard identification. Danger may arise due to new processes or working strategies or may arise out of informal changes to existing process and working practices that the nurse can readily indicate and assess the likely risk from. This activity necessitates and pre-supposed regular and frequent work place visits because of the occupational health nurse to maintain an up to date knowledge along with awareness of working processes and practices.