SOM members have the opportunity to join Special Interest Groups (SIGs). These tackle pressing issues facing occupational health today and provide SOM members with opportunities to explore areas not necessarily covered through their training. They are an opportunity to agree best practice, enable networking and provide an invaluable source of expertise.
Here are some of the activities of SIGs:
- SOM Construction worker health assessment group - developed guidance here and held a launch webinar in December 2021 - recording here. The guidance will be reviewed in 2022 - please let us know if there are any improvements that are needed to the document. The group noted that mental health of construction workers is a key issue (see here) and CICV collated useful resources here.
- SOM's Functional Assessment SIG aims to build recognition of this area of clinical practice. The functional assessor profession focuses on transferring occupational health skills and applying them to establishing a person's functional capabilities and limitations secondary to their medical conditions, rather than focusing on diagnosis. It involves meeting people with disabilities in a non-clinical environment, establishing the impact of their disabilities on their day-to-day life and preparing detailed clinical reports. This is all about helping applicants get support and move forward with their lives, not about determining if they are fit for work. More information about what the role entails and testimonies can be found here.
- SOM's GP interest group in health & work - offers a forum to discuss areas of mutual interest such as placement and work shadowing opportunities; support to GPs achieving DipOccMed and sharing resources of interest. GPs are welcome to sign up to the free OH GP Bulletin which provides key updates on work and health issues. Note the Podcast on GP fit note completion issues here.
- SOM's HAVS SIG has produced best guidance available here. A guidance document Remote assessment of HAVS and CTS is available for SOM members only. A new guidance document Carpal tunnel syndrome and work with hand-held vibrating tools was released in January 2022. A HAVS Staging guidance document was released in July 2022. This Dupuytren's Disease guidance was released in September 2022, and Use of photography guidance was released in February 2023. This Nerve Conduction Studies in workers exposed to Hand-Transmitted Vibration guidance was released in May 2023, and this HAVS and Whole Body Vibration guidance was updated in September 2023. Sign the SOM HAVS voluntary register here.
- SOM's Noise Induced Hearing Loss SIG with UKHCA released a Position Statement on the implementation of HSE Noise Surveillance Guidance in May 2023.
- SOM's Mining SIG held their first meeting in October 2023 - download the presentation from the Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health Africa (COEHA) here.
- SOM’s Occupational, Health and Work Psychology SIG aims to further the wellbeing of individuals and society at large through the application of occupational psychology. It focuses on protection and promotion of workers’ health through the application of psychological theory and evidence e.g. via disseminating best practice. It has produced a guide on Evaluating and supporting Neurodifferences at work here.Terms of reference of the SIG are here. SOM also hosts events with the British Psychological Society.
- SOM's Occupational Health Technicians SIG has agreed a scope of practice of Occupational Health Technicians and Career Path of OH Technicians. In 2021, SOM worked with Occupational Health Technicians to define their skills and, following a review by SOM Council 2021, they are invited to self-assess against a matrix here (please review and then get signed off by your supervisor who should ideally be an Occupational Health Adviser or Occupational Medicine Physician). The Group has also agreed a code of conduct and Escalation Criteria. A new Occupational Health Technician qualification has been launched offering professional development opportunities for individuals wanting to move into occupational health or OHTs who want to increase their skills. The Open Awards Level 3 Certificate for Occupational Health Technicians has been developed with the support of SOM, and experienced Occupational Health Professionals, including practicing Occupational Health Practitioners (under whose supervision this role operates). View the results of our 2023 OH Technician Salary Survey here.
- SOM's Skin SIG released this Managing Skin Health at Work guidance in November 2023.
- SOM Vocational Rehabilitation SIG. A presentation on Vocational Rehabilitation is available here.
Other SOM groups meet on issues such as Mental Health, Long COVID, Travel Medicine, OH Marketing and Leadership. SOM also hosts a CESR support group (register here) and DOcc Med group (register here and notes of the November 2022 meeting here) and an Allied Health Professional group (notes of the November 2022 meeting here). Contact email@example.com
SOM also hosts wider groups, that include non SOM members, such as:
- a MSK at Work Network group.
- a Sleep and Work steering group - members include The Sleep Council; ROSPA; SOM members; Mind; British Society of Lifestyle Medicine, and the British Psychological Society (a presentation on sleep and work is here).
- The independent Academic Forum on work and health - see here.
Nuclear Industry Ionising Radiation Occupational Health Professionals SIG - For representatives from organisations where there is significant radiation. Those joining need to be providing care to IRR workers. The group is concerned that some organisations and individual OHPs are not appropriately qualified or do not understand the risks/duties involved. In February 2023, the SIG published a knowledge framework for OHPs working in the radiation medicine sector (and hoping to then follow this with the same for OHAs) beyond what the standard HSE accredited IRR course would cover. Contact: Dr Sarah Jackson, Chief Medical Officer for EDF, chair and contact point firstname.lastname@example.org. Meetings may need security clearance to attend in person.