Underlining The Importance Of Health Surveillance In The Workplace

Substances Highlighted In Study By Occupational Health Practitioner


The importance of employers maintaining health records and systems of surveillance has been highlighted by an occupation health expert, who also stressed the importance of monitoring those likely to be most affected by substance exposure.

Writing in the Occupational Health journal, Susanna Everton outlines the list of the most common substances listed as hazardous under the relevant regulations.

Substances including trichloroethylene, benzene, carbon tetrachloride and dichlorobenzidine are listed within the regulations as being potentially harmful to employees, who are exposed to them without adequate personal protective equipment.

The emphasis of the article focuses on the need for employers to maintain health records for individuals and to include details of health tests, procedures and examinations which should have been carried out under any well-organised programme of surveillance.

Susanna comments: “Health surveillance is a core activity in occupational health and is used as a process of systematically watching for early signs of work-related ill health in employees exposed to certain health risks.”

Expert Opinion
Relatively low cost control measures such as health records and surveillance initiatives can prove an effective way of safeguarding the welfare of employees who are most at risk.

"The law in respect of exposure to hazardous substances is clear and employers will be expected to have reduced to level of risk to the lowest possible level.

"An unassessed risk which may have been ignored for whatever reason can have a terrible long term effect on the lives of so many employees and, having seen first-hand the impact such issues can have on victims, we would urge all employers to consider taking steps to properly manage such workplace hazards."
Alex Shorey, Solicitor