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What is occupational health?

What is occupational health (OH)?

Occupational health (OH) is a multidisciplinary approach to maintaining the wellbeing of those employed in a workplace, preventing, and removing ill-health and developing solutions to keep staff with health issues at work. OH professionals provide independent advice on staff unable to work due to long-term or short-term intermittent health problems, and organisational wide steps to reduce sickness absence. 

Our report Occupational health: the value proposition cites evidence that shows organisations most commonly rank OH involvement as the most effective method for managing the problem of employee long-term absence from work. The document also reports that a healthy workplace culture and the adoption of a systematic approach to OH can contribute to the success of an organisation.

Read more about the value of OH and download our report and accompanying resources here.

We have also produced a report on the global value of OH. Find out more here and download the report here.

What do OH Professionals do?

•    Provide independent advice on staff unable to work due to long-term or short-term intermittent health problems, and organisational wide steps to reduce sickness absence 
•    Assess fitness to work regarding ill-health capability dismissal or ill-health retirement 
•    Advise on compliance under the Equality Act 2010 (including disability, pregnancy and age discrimination) and temporary or permanent changes to the work or workplace ('reasonable adjustments') 
•    Carry out pre-employment or pre-placement health assessments 
•    Develop health and wellbeing related strategy and policies and can provide health advice to employees

They also carry out statutory health surveillance (e.g. when workers may be exposed to hazardous substances or noise).

Different professions in OH can range from doctors, psychologists, technicians, nurses, occupational therapists and physiotherapists who all play important roles within OH. OH Professionals make a real difference to the health of workers. OH is a rewarding and interesting career and one that allows a good work/life balance.

Visit our Careers in OH page here.

Read our OH Professional profiles here.