Health Surveillance

Health surveillance is undertaken where the risk assessment indicates that it is required  (Reg 6 of the Management of health and safety at work Regulations1999) . The Approved Code of practice to the Regulations qualifies when health surveillance is appropriate. These are:

  • When there is an identifiable disease or adverse health condition related to the work concerned.
  • Where there are valid techniques to detect disease
  • Where there is a likelihood that the condition may occur under particular conditions of work
  • Where surveillance is likely to further protect the health of the employee
  • Safety critical work such as working at height, lone working, or in a confined space

The risk assessment should indicate the frequency of health surveillance and should be supported by a written policy. Health surveillance is important for ill-health prevention. It tries to ensure that early signs of ill-health is detected as soon as possible so that suitable interventions can take place to prevent condition developing.

Health surveillance can take many forms and techniques .  Examples of health surveillance include:

  • Respiratory health such as spirometry
  • Audiometry
  • Biological monitoring for lead, mercury etc.
  • Skin health surveillance
  • Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)

In its simplest form, Health Surveillance involves employees checking themselves for signs or symptoms of ill health. However, self-checks can only be carried out where they are part of a wider Health Surveillance programme. A responsible person can be trained to make basic checks such as skin inspections. However for more complicated assessments, such as medical fitness for specific jobs, lung function tests, hearing tests, we can provide all of the above and carry out the clinical examinations required. We can also provide the training required for self-checks.