Occupational health ‘too expensive’ and complicated, complain employers

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Employers do not use occupational health because it is too expensive and too complicated, because they have had their fingers burnt in the past, because they don’t know where to look, or because they just don’t appreciate what OH can bring to the table, a survey by SOM (the Society of Occupational Medicine) has concluded.

The snapshot poll, albeit with a small sample base of just 11 employers, found that, where firms did not use occupational health, 25% felt this was because it was “too expensive”, while 13% each said they did not require it, the process was “too complicated”, they had a lack of knowledge about what OH could offer, they had “a poor previous experience”, or they simply were not aware of its availability.

However, where employers did make use of OH, it was primarily for return-to-work, case management and mental health support (all 67%), followed by help with health surveillance, musculoskeletal issues, and health and wellbeing strategies (all 44%).

Other common uses included pre-placement support (33%), flu vaccinations, support with risk assessments, and drug and alcohol screening (all 22%).

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One Response to Occupational health ‘too expensive’ and complicated, complain employers

  1. Avatar
    Dr. Charles H.. Elliott, DHSc, PA-C 21 Oct 2020 at 12:11 pm #

    Often, a company first needs an occupational health (OH) analysis at a high level rather than an a la carte dart throw to fit limited situations. This can often be done electronically and via the web as a significant cost savings for a consultant. In today’s COVID environment, it is easy for it to be the gorilla in the room but other OH needs need to continue to be addressed by an occupational medicine professional.

    See the website for an executive-level review of your current and future OH needs. I have over 35 years experience in global and domestic occupational medicine and now teach health administration at the doctoral level.


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