Among the variety of tasks HSE inspectors are expected to carry out, we have to establish - where relevant - the scope and quality of occupational health provision in the workplace.
Where occupational health surveillance is provided they tend to focus on:
- Whether those delivering an OH service can demonstrate an understanding of the requirements, advice and guidance of relevant legislation that relates to the provision of suitable occupational health surveillance.
- That the results of any health surveillance procedures lead to appropriate action.
- That there are effective control measures in place to ensure that any health surveillance programme is being conducted correctly and that appropriate action is being recommended and acted upon in the interest of staff.
- That any health records are prepared in accordance with the legal requirements and, that useful, anonymised feedback of the surveillance results (within the constraints of the Medical Records Act 1990) is given to employers on a grouped basis so that the employer can assess the effectiveness of its existing control measures.
My colleagues and myself too often come across cases where the OH provider has failed in one or more of these aspects. For instance:
1. A GP who routinely sent paint sprayers for chest x-rays.
2. Occupational health providers who believe lung function monitoring is not necessary for workers using flux-cored solder.
3. Occupational health providers who routinely send the detailed results of lung function tests of paint sprayers to their employer - without the consent of the workers concerned.
4. Occupational health providers who take the blood pressure of paint sprayers, but fail to carry out lung function tests.
From our office we have already served an enforcement notice on one occupational