A range of health surveillance programmes are currently in place for the protection of the health of staff who undertake certain duties, such as working with chemicals, biological agents ionising radiation and respiratory allergens, and in order to ensure fitness to work.
What is Health Surveillance?
Health Surveillance can be defined as a process involving a range of strategies and methods used to systematically detect and assess the early signs of adverse effects on the health of workers exposed to certain health hazards; and subsequently acting on the results. The objectives of a health surveillance programme are to:
- Protect the health of individual employees by detecting as early as possible, adverse changes, which may be caused by exposure to substances hazardous to health.
- Identify and implement specific surveillance requirements for employees liable to be exposed to substances and working in processes as listed in COSHH Regulations.
- Identify and implement specific biological monitoring for employees working with substances assigned a biological monitoring guidance values detailed in Table 3 of EH40. Analytical methods defined by HSE.
- Help evaluate the measures taken to control exposure.
- Collect, keep up to date and use data and information for determining and evaluating hazards to health.
- Demonstrate compliance against both Regulatory and company standards.
Some forms of health surveillance are required by law. Other forms of health surveillance are undertaken as good practice, such as pre-employment assessments.