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Occupational Health Policy

INTRODUCTION
This document sets out services provided through the Occupational Health Department within Cardiff University arising from the activities undertaken.  

The Service is delivered through on-site, Specialist Occupational Advisors, led by an Occupational Health Physician. The team take an impartial view and remain objective in the advice given to employers, employees, academic staff and students.

WHAT IS OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH
Occupational Health has been described by the Health and Safety Executive as embracing:


• the effect of work on health
• the effect of health on work
• rehabilitation and recovery programmes
• managing work-related aspects of illnesses and helping staff to make informed choices regarding lifestyle issues

LEGAL OBLIGATIONS
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act, there is a general obligation for the University to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable the health, safety and welfare of all members of staff and students and a variety of regulations which supports this.

HOW TO ACCESS OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH
Staff can access the service by:

1. Primarily through a Management Referral.  These are generated by Managers/Academic staff where there is a concern by the Manager or individual regarding the employee’s/staff fitness to return to work/to continue to work, advice following sickness absence of 4 or more weeks, or due to return to work after surgery or a medical condition.  All referrals will be triaged by the OH team and based on the information provided will determine allocations of appointment.
  
2. If not covered in the above, staff may self-refer to OH by email or telephone and will be given an appointment at an appropriate opportunity.

SERVICES PROVIDED BY OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH
Pre-Employment medical screening
The purpose of this screening is to:
• Ensure that prospective staff, whose employment is conditional upon satisfactory medical clearance, is medically fit to undertake the type of work they will be employed to do.
• Advice on the impact of a disability on work together with adjustments that the University should reasonably be expected to make to accommodate a medical condition in compliance with the Equality Act.

Students Fitness to Practice medical screening
All applicants into Teaching and Health Care programmes are required to complete a health questionnaire to ensure that they are physically and mentally fit to practice.  At the commencement of the programme all health care students will be required to undergo a medical screening, carried out independently by the Occupational Health Service. Health Care students are required to meet Department of Health requirements for all medical vaccinations.  

Occupational Health Surveillance
New employees who have a 'high risk' job (including postgraduate students) before employment are required to complete Health Questionnaires. For some, a mandatory Occupational Health pre-employment health screening will be necessary.  Staff coming into contact with any of the following will be required to undergo statutory health surveillance.

  • Animal contact
  • Blood (human or animal) and body fluids
  • Category 2 and above pathogens
  • Chemicals, carcinogens
  • Food (catering staff)
  • Genetic manipulation
  • Heavy machinery, oils, solvents, asbestos etc.
  • Noise
  • Slurry, sludge and sewerage
  • Soil (gardeners and biological workers)
  • Night workers
  • Dust – wood and stone

Risk Assessment
There is a statutory duty of care under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations for managers to assess the risks of health to their employees. Any identified hazards which the manager has highlighted may require advice/education etc from the OHS.

Returning to work following infectious diseases
OH can provide advice to assist in a return to work assessment where the absence was due to contracting Rubella or German measles, Mumps, Chicken Pox or other infectious diseases.

Ill-health retirement
OH will provide advice/assessment on eligibility for ill-health early retirement.

Travel
OHS offers travel advice and immunisations to University staff travelling on University business. This may include undertaking research abroad, attending conferences or going on field trips.  Vaccinations should always be considered when travelling to areas outside Western Europe and North America.  Departments will be responsible for the costs of any required vaccinations. Assessment and advice can also be provided following a visit overseas.  

Medical students going on elective travel for their course may require vaccinations and/or blood tests.  It may be necessary for the individuals to bear the cost for these.

Referral to third parties
OH provides advice/referral onto internal/external third party support such as counselling, Access to Work, Shaw Trust and Remploy.

Stress
It is part of the OH remit to evaluate and monitor causes effects and impacts of workplace stress. The OHS will facilitate employees stress management, control and coping mechanisms, and also work closely with HR in implementing policies to eradicate workplace stress.

Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Assessments
In line with current legislation all DSE users need to be assessed upon commencement and following any relevant changes or difficulties. The University has trained assessors in academic and administrative departments. The Head of each area is responsible for ensuring the assessments have been undertaken. Should anyone have any particular queries they should contact the OHS.  Individuals with unresolved pain believed to be due to working with DSE should be referred to OH.


Health Promotion/Training and Development:
The OH team is involved in initiatives and strategies relating to staff and students health promotion and health education. This will include:-

  •  Health promotion activities, focusing, as appropriate, upon single health issues or targeted at specific staff groups
  •  Participation in national/ international health campaigns
  •  Stress awareness
  •  Sickness/Absence
  • Occupational health talks to students regarding vaccinations, blood borne viruses and elective visits abroad.

CONFIDENTIALITY
Medical information given by CU employees/students will be treated as confidential.   Medical records are stored in line with data protection requirements and only accessible to health centre staff.  All health centre staff adheres to a strict code of ethics in relation to the confidentiality of all consultations, telephone contact and the maintenance of medical records.

References:
Health and Safety at Work Act
Equality Act
Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations
Health and Safety Executive  Management of health and safety at work. Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999Approved Code of Practice and Guidance (2nd edition) HSE Books
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1994: Health and Safety Executive Control Of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations
Approved code of practice and guidance, HSE publications, Caerphilly Health & Safety Executive