OH role in flu pandemic
OH practitioners will have to get involved in the segregation of staff as well as the control and deployment of employees in the event of an influenza pandemic, according to the man leading the government’s plans. Dr Jonathan Van Tam (pictured), consultant epidemiologist at the Centre for Infections, told delegates that OH would need to monitor cases throughout an outbreak, control the return to work of infected staff, and may be needed to treat staff with anti-viral drugs or vaccinations. Go to www.hpa.org.uk
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) research in areas such as occupational asthma has shown the benefits of multi-disciplinary working on health and safety issues, according to Andrew Curran, head of the Health Sciences Group of the Health and Safety Laboratory. Curran argued that involvement was needed from the HSE, insurance companies, trade unions, the supply chain, the employer, staff, OH provider, sufferers, GPs, specialist physicians and solicitors.
OH across Europe
A survey of 15 European countries by the Faculty of Nursing and FOHNEU Education Group found that 10 had specialised OH education and, of the rest, four have OH as part of other specialisms. The length of study varies from six months to one year full time. Spain has the highest ratio of OH nurses to population, with the UK in sixth place. Positive developments include a wider OH role and more OH education.