Health Surveillance – e.g.potential exposure to Silica, Noise or Skin Irritants.

The HSE issued new guidance in relation to health surveillance on 18th June 2020.

‘Health and medical surveillance and safety critical medicals 

Guidance for occupational health providers, appointed doctors and employers during the coronavirus outbreak

In the light of advice from Public Health England (PHE) on COVID-19, HSE issued guidance on 20 March 2020, setting out a proportionate and flexible approach to enable health and medical surveillance to continue. This advice updates that guidance. It continues to balance the need to protect the health, safety and welfare of workers and the current constraints presented by the coronavirus outbreak. HSE will continue to review this guidance as appropriate (last updated 18 June 2020).

This guidance outlines a framework for how you can conduct health/medical surveillance and safety critical medicals remotely. It does not prevent you from carrying out face to face medical assessments where you have carried out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and put in place appropriate controls, taking into account PHE advice on coronavirus.  

Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005

Providing the worker does not identify any relevant problems, the occupational health professional/ audiologist can defer audiometry for up to 6 months. If there is a problem, they can carry out a telephone consultation and decide if a face to face examination is justified. If it is, they should make a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and put in place appropriate controls, taking into account PHE advice regarding coronavirus.

For those workers who previously had audiometry deferred for 3 months in accordance with HSE guidance issued on 20 March 2020, the occupational health professional/audiologist can further defer audiometry for up to 3 months.

Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005

A tiered approach to health surveillance will apply. Questionnaires can be administered remotely. Where there is a problem, occupational health professionals can carry out a telephone consultation and decide if a face to face examination is justified. If it is, they should make a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and put in place appropriate controls, taking into account PHE advice regarding coronavirus.

Safety critical medicals

You should conduct a task analysis of the role the individual is performing to determine if it is appropriate to undertake assessments remotely by telephone or video consultation (using information from previous medicals where applicable) and defer a face to face medical examination.  Following the assessment, you can decide whether to issue a ‘fitness to work certificate’ and if you do, whether you should restrict it (for example by duration) until you conduct a face to face medical.  If you decide a face to face examination is justified, you should carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and put in place appropriate controls, taking into account PHE advice on coronavirus.’

If you would like to organise a remote assessment, where applicable, or have any questions, you’re welcome to contact us on helen@brydenmedical.com.
Due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic,  our clinic is currently closed for face-to-face work and we don’t know exactly when we will be reopening as yet