Choosing your Occupational Health Service Provider

Accredited providers

To help you make the right decision, CBH offers accreditation of OHSPs. The service delivered by these CBH-accredited providers is matched against industry standards.

You can find a list of accredited OHSPs here.

If you are an OHSP and are looking for information on how to be come accredited to CBH please click here.

 

Finding an Occupational Health Service Provider (OHSP) can be a daunting process. Here’s a guide to make it as straightforward as possible.

Step one: Identify what sort of Occupational Health Service you need

By carrying out health risk assessments for your employees, using CHAT and the matrix, you can identify the health surveillance required. That way, you can make a judgment about the type of Occupational Health Service you need.

Contact CBH Scotland for further assistance.

Step two: Choose your provider

When choosing an OHSP, consider their competency, as well as their size and geographical reach. If you’re a smaller company, you may find the personal approach of an independent specialist works well. But larger businesses may need larger providers to satisfy their requirements.

Here are some other factors to consider when making your choice:

  • Equipment: The OHSP should have the appropriate equipment for conducting health assessments. It needs to be in good working order and calibrated/serviced as per manufacturers’ guidelines.
  • Facilities – mobile unit/private room: You should consider whether you wish for your employees to be seen by the OHSP at your own site. If so, do you have a suitable room where privacy can be maintained, including facilities like a toilet and hand washing? Alternatively, some OHSP’s operate a mobile unit, which is normally a fully-equipped vehicle that is brought on to site. You need only provide an electrical supply, and an accessible place to park that is close to welfare facilities. If this is not suitable for your site it may be possible for health checks to be undertaken at the OHSP premises – check this out prior to signing a contract.
  • Storage of records: Occupational Health records remain the property of the employer but must remain confidential to OH professionals only. You should therefore decide whether you have suitable storage facilities, such as a locked, fireproof cabinet, within a locked room. If not, you may want to choose an OHSP that can safely store records on your behalf.
  • Philosophy of the OHSP: You should consider the philosophy and scope of service delivered by an OHSP. An OH service that is based upon a health risk-management approach is preferable. In addition, it’s good to choose an OHSP that assists in identifying risks to employees’ health through risk assessment and advice on control measures.
  • Service level agreements (SLAs): These should be agreed prior to contracting with an OHSP. Bear in mind: the turnaround time of referrals and pre-placement health questionnaires, how soon after an assessment you should expect to receive a report, and the availability of appointments.
  • Reports: Prior to contracting with an OHSP, you should be familiar with the following:
    • The type of reports you expect to receive from them, and when
    • Whether the information you receive will inform the risk-management process, e.g. identifying where further control measures may be required
    • Whether your obligations under COSHH will be met by the supply of individual health surveillance records
  • Costs: You should have a clear breakdown of the costs you are likely to incur and what is included in any prices quoted. You should be aware of likely additional charges such as GP/Specialist reports where individuals are referred.
  • Confidentiality: You should be reassured that any OHSP you contract with will remain professional and within the bounds of medical confidentiality. Also check that they meet their obligations under the Data Protection Act and the Access to Medical Records Act.

OH Services available

To inform your choice, here are some of the OH services you may need:

  • Pre-Placement Health Questionnaires/Assessments: Carry out pre-placement screening and you can ensure employees are fit for their proposed job role. They will also help you to meet your obligations under the Equality Act and help you make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to the working environment where necessary. Matching an employee’s health status to their proposed job helps to prevent or minimise work accidents. What’s more, pre-placement screening can prevent or reduce the chance of occupational disease, and provides a baseline guide to an employee’s health.
  • Health Surveillance: Your OHSP should help you identify work-related activities that are subject to health surveillance requirements and develop and implement a programme to address the identified needs. Health surveillance is likely to be required if your employees are at risk from:
    • Noise or Vibration
    • Solvents, dusts, fumes, biological agents and other substances hazardous to health
    • Asbestos, lead or work in compressed air
    • Ionising radiation
  • Fitness for Work Assessments: You may have a need to conduct statutory and/or recommended fitness for work assessments –for example, if you have identified workers undertaking safety-critical tasks. An OHSP can support you in this.
  • Sickness Absence: You may also ask your OHSP to help you manage sickness absence. If you do this proactively, it can facilitate an earlier return to work. In addition, the OHSP can advise on restricted or alternate duties, or tell you when an employee has reduced capacity to perform their usual tasks. This enables you to fulfil your obligations under the Equality Act and potentially prevent further work-related ill health.
  • Lifestyle Screening/Wellness Programmes: It is good practice to promote health and advise employees about living well, but it isn’t mandatory. Even so, the benefits to your organisation include reduction in sickness absence, increased productivity and a mitigated the risk of incidents/accidents. If your OHSP is supplying these services, you need to make sure they are appropriate to your business, and do not result in unnecessary costs and inconvenience.