New Occupational Health website launches

Have you got a query about your health and how it could or does affect your work or the way you do it?

Maybe your work environment is changing or you're going to be using new materials, and want to check if this might have an impact on your health? Whatever your query about work and health, the new Occupational Health (OH) website - is there to provide some answers.

"We hope the website will make people more aware of our services and encourage increased, appropriate take-up," says Ann McHaffie, Head of Service. "It's accessible to all our staff, and includes details of what to expect during an OH consultation, an A-Z section, questions to ask yourself if you think your health needs protecting from  work activity, and administrative information that's particularly relevant for managers. 

"The site also contains some carefully chosen links to external sites, such HSE, Access to Work and Get Well Soon, which gives really useful information from the Royal College of Surgeons about recovering from particular types of operation."

Together with the University's medical advisor Dr John Papworth-Smith, there are five clinical  staff in Occupational Health Service, all of whom have specialist training. They deal with hundreds of referrals each year, involving thousands of different activities from arranging immunisation, issuing fit to work letters and checking lung function. The service is completely confidential, operating in the same way as any national health medical service, so our records and systems are totally separate from the University.

"In essence, we look at existing or temporary conditions or disabilities that may affect the work people can do,or the impact of work on their health" continues Ann. "This could be where someone's health affects their ability to work. For example, if someone was recovering from a broken leg, we'd look at the nature of their job - if it involved lots of standing, carrying, etc - and decide how best to phase their return to work and what adaptations are needed .  Or, if a lab worker was going to be using a new biological agent, we'd want to ensure that they were immunised and take other steps to protect health like developing an allergy.

"Of course, there are organisational health issues to deal with, such as flu. It can be quite complicated, as it is analgous to covering the needs of a large, diverse business park rather than one organisation!"

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