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Occupational health adviser Nic Lee describes a health needs assessment (HNA) proposal that he has developed to manage employees with diabetes who are working in a safety-critical environment.
This article will outline the proposed health needs assessment (HNA) for railway and logistics workers who manage their diabetes with medication and who are at risk of dismissal if they develop diabetes-related complications, such as hypoglycaemia or retinopathy.
The first step of an occupational HNA is to identify a health improvement need in a specific population.
Once the population has been identified – safety-critical workers registered at an undisclosed site, to ensure the sample size is manageable – the second stage of the HNA cycle can begin: identifying the problems and challenges to be overcome (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), 2005). The method could be an online questionnaire, improving compliance and completion rates in a timely and cost-effective manner.
The relevance of the questions should be explained, for example improving the process used for an annual diabetes at work programme, and promoting the self-management of diabetes at work.
Rail worker health needs assessment questionnaire
Over the last 12 months, have you been authorised to work trackside and/or on safety critical duties:
This question is intended to identify employees by duties undertaken, to ensure that the chosen population is selected. If the employee answers “No”, then the questionnaire ends.DIABETES HEALTH AND WELLBEING
Have you been diagnosed with or do you have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus, which requires you to take prescribed medication to control your blood sugar levels?
This question is intended to identify respondents by condition to ensure that the topic – diabetes in the workplace – is applicable to the population selected. Once again, if the employee answers “No”, then the questionnaire ends.
Are you required to take insulin on a daily basis?
This question identifies whether the employee – whether a type 1 or type 2 diabetic – is at a higher risk of hypoglycaemi