A large number of employers may provide occupational health or employee assistance programmes to support their employees through difficult health issues or to help them to cope in the event of a short time personal crisis.

Here is a look at what occupational health means and why it is important if you as an employee have cause to need some help or guidance on a range of sensitive issues.

Occupational Health explained

The ultimate aim of occupational health is for a trained professional to find out what impact your work or personal circumstances are having on your health, both physical and also mentally.

Health professionals are tasked to work in the role of an occupational health therapist or counsellor in order to establish the cause of a person’s work-related ailments including things such as stress, and then provide some recommendations after carrying out their assessment.

They will determine whether you are currently fit for work and offer differing levels of support or advise if they think that there is a good reason why you should not be working at the present time.

You employer may offer you an Employee Assisted Programme operated by a company like www.healthassured.co.uk where you can receive help and support in resolving any problems that have been highlighted.

Full disclosure

It is important to fully understand that if you as an employee become involved in the occupational health process, you have a legal duty to disclose your health information when required to do so as part of the assessment process authorised by your employer.

Although the idea of an occupational health service is to help and advise you through a difficult period in your working or personal life, if you do not disclose details that come to light at a later date, it can have serious implications in relation to the security of your job and could cause your employment to be terminated if you are found to have not disclosed all relevant facts.

Physical or mental health problems

The occupational health programme is there to help people with physical or mental health problems and in many cases, with their assistance, people are able to make some adjustments which allow them to carry on in their position and remain in employment.

A good example of how the service can be of benefit, would be to look at an employee who has developed physical problems such as deteriorating eyesight or back pain. An occupational health therapist can look at ways of alleviating the problem and perhaps recommending some equipment to the employer that would ease or resolve the discomfort being caused.

Understandable hesitancy

Not all of us will feel comfortable in disclosing personal information or talking about issues such as mental health, but it is important to remember that occupational health will not disclose informational about your health without your consent and it is also worth bearing in mind that their role is to support and help you with any problems that you might have.

Most of the people who work in these roles are kind and compassionate and want to support you in any professional way that they can, so whilst your hesitancy is understandable, the potential for a positive outcome should allay any fears that you have.

Don’t be afraid to open up to occupational health, it will serve you well in more ways than one.

Nathan Harper has extensive experience in career placement and he is now a consultant. He enjoys sharing his insights through bloging.




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