SMEs focus of OH action plan

Joint initiative sees HSC and Department of Health take good
practice to small- and medium-sized businesses


Making occupational health services more accessible to
employees of small- and medium-sized enterprises is the focus of a new report
by the Health and Safety Commission and the Department of Health.


The report contains 30 recommendations for occupational
health covering: delivery of  support
through local partnerships, changing behaviour and promoting awareness of
sector issues and training for medical professionals.


Sandra Caldwell, director of the Health and Safety
Executive’s Health Directorate, said, "With effective occupational health
support and advice, health risks and illness at work can be managed in ways
which are neither costly nor difficult. But there are real challenges in making
such support and advice available to people at work in small enterprises.
Practical solutions are needed and the recommendations in the report offer


The two bodies have agreed on a joint action plan to
implement the recommendations, working in partnership with organisations
ranging from NHS trusts to local authorities to representatives of small
businesses and their employees.


Copies of the free report Occupational Health Advisory
Committee Report and Recommendations on Improving Access to Occupational Health
Support are available from Angela Wearne at the HSE, Rose Court, 2 Southwark
Bridge, London SE1 9HS, tel 020-7717 6225, e-mail


The HSE is also inviting contributions to its new
occupational health strategy Securing Health Together at


Key recommendations


– Comprehensive frameworks for OH support to be established


– Oh resources and delivery mechanisms to give priority to
prevention of health risks at work and issues that arise from the effects of
health on work


– Mandatory for OH to form one of the core issues covered by
health improvement programmes


– Consideration to be given to the benefits of recognising OH
as an NHS speciality to which primary care patients can be referred

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