Your employee and your organisation may benefit from the help of an occupational health adviser. This is a health professional, such as a nurse or doctor, who specialises in workplace health issues. Occupational health advisers draw on their clinical knowledge and an awareness of the specific duties and demands of the employee’s role. You may consider consulting an occupational health adviser at an early stage, before going ahead with important changes or decisions affecting policies or individuals.
Most occupational health advisers serve in an advisory role for managers and employees. They can help you understand your responsibilities under employment and health and safety law. They can also inform business decisions about:
- reasonable workplace adjustments
- ongoing employment
- release of company benefits such as pensions.
Occupational health advisers can also assist managers in undertaking an appropriate and specific risk assessment for individual employees with a chronic health problem, such as cancer. This is to ensure, from a health and safety perspective, the appropriateness of the work the employee returns to.
When an employee has a cancer diagnosis, occupational health involvement is most likely to arise in relation to:
- fitness for employment when considering job applicants
- fitness for return-to-work after sickness absence
- where there is management concern about the health and safety or performance of affected employee.