This week’s letters

HR involvement

I was surprised at the letter in Occupational Health, October, where the
writer objected to HR involvement in her recruitment. Elsewhere in the issue a
great deal was written about OH professionals being involved with absence
monitoring, and this obviously underlines the links with the personnel
department. Many nurses and advisers work closely with, or even for, HR
managers where the question raised about malingerers is often heard.

The challenge for an OHN is to work as an advocate for the employee within
the constraints of confidentiality, to persuade the employer to support him or
her during a time of crisis, either physical or mental, until they are fit to
return fully to work. Alternatively, if they are malingering, the ball can be
firmly hit back into the manager’s court.

Finally, in answer to the issue of training, the skills used in this will
not be learnt on a management course but through nursing experience.

Wendy Williams
Occupational health nursing adviser

Petty squabbles

In an otherwise interesting article (Occupational Health November 2001), we
were dismayed to read Dr SJ Karmy’s contentious assertion that the Bekesy
audiometric test is best. To suggest that one particular test method is better
than any other in common use is extremely unhelpful. There is already quite
enough opposition to hearing conservation, without its supporters encouraging
petty squabbles about accuracy.

Industrial audiometry concentrates on basic screening tests, which are
intended to detect signs of hearing impairment in order to minimise further
damage, and to refer those whose hearing has already been affected to more
rigorous investigation, usually using the Hughson Westlake test method. To that
end the type of initial test employed is of marginal interest.

Our efforts should be focused on the promotion of serial audiometry by all
available methods and the implementation of hearing conservation programmes to
reduce hearing loss wherever possible.

Paul Boland
Managing director, P&A Audiometric Services, Manchester

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