It is a legal requirement and has been for quite a few years now. So, no excuses you need to do it. The consequences of not doing it could result in a large fine. But worse than that, not picking up on an employee’s deteriorating health due to work could cause permanent harm to their health and prevent them from working or from being able to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
Look after employees’ health
If you have employees working for you, then you have a duty of care to them. Not only is it legally required but having a well-run health surveillance programme will demonstrate to your staff that you value them and their health and are active in preventing any harm to them through monitoring with a health surveillance programme.
Early detection of ill effects from something at work such as noise can stop the problem from getting worse. Some problems are not reversible like hand-arm vibration syndrome or hearing loss. Once the hearing has been lost, it will not come back.
Prevent legal action
Health surveillance needs to be started when an employee first joins you before they are exposed to hazards in your workplace. This is so important if you employ staff who have worked for other employers and have been exposed to hazards in the workplace before.
You need to know their baseline, and what their health is like when they start with you. This enables health surveillance to accurately assess if there is any deterioration from your workplace for the duration of their employment with you.
Ensure safety measures are working correctly
So, you’ve completed your risk assessments and put control measures in place. How are you going to ensure that the control measures are working?
That’s where health surveillance comes in! Once you have the risk assessments, an ongoing health surveillance programme can be implemented to ensure those control measures are working. For example, if your control measures require your staff to wear hearing protection, then you need to check that their hearing remains at the same level they started with, and the only way to do that is to do hearing tests, which is health surveillance!
Saves you money
Health surveillance might seem like an additional cost to your business that you just cannot afford to do, but can you afford not to do it?
If you are inspected by the HSE and are found to be in breach of the law that could result in a fine. Sometimes it can be a large fine which will make the cost of health surveillance seem a price worth paying.
If you are unfortunate enough to have a member of staff who suffers from ill health as a result of being exposed in the workplace to hazards, then they may well make a legal claim against you.
Health and Safety law has been around for a long time now. There are no excuses not to comply, but it can be scary, and for some SME’s it’s a small part of someone’s role to look at health surveillance.
Call the experts in and seek advice that way you are doing everything you can to take the right steps in looking after your business and its staff.