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Types of services

Services to consider when choosing a provider

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Occupational health for the education sector

What occupational health support services you require will vary depending on individual circumstances and needs of your school, college or academy.

Here we provide an overview of some of the main services you should consider when searching for an occupational health and wellbeing provider:

Occupational health assessment. One of the first steps in identifying a health issue and developing a support plan is an occupational health assessment. This will be an in-depth investigation into a known issue and follow up suggestions on how the occupational health provider can support the individual through their period of physical or mental ill health.

Pre-placement screening. Before an employee begins working in their new role for your school or academy, it’s important to ensure that any health risks are addressed and subsequent measures are put in place to support employees.

Physiotherapy. Physiotherapy is used to restore movement and function when a member of staff is affected by injury, illness or disability. Providers will usually offer physiotherapy consultations face-to-face or remotely via an online webcam service.

Fitness for work screening. Regular checks to ensure employees are fit to carry out their role such as safe to work at heights (aerial cutting of trees) or healthy skin (metal work and exposure to lubricants or latex).

Counselling. It’s unfortunate that within the education sector stress, anxiety and depression are common. Some occupational health providers will offer specialist counselling for a range of issues, using a variety of different media.

24-hour helpline. Sometimes not knowing who you can talk to is one of the biggest problems. A 24-hour helpline is completely confidential and can be accessed by staff around-the-clock. Moreover, if the issue requires follow up support the individual will be referred on from the helpline to a relevant service.

Return to work planning. Returning to work after a long length of absence can be challenging. Return to work planning helps absentees get back to work as soon as is reasonably possible, and allows the provider to put any measures in place to support the individual and prevent any occupational health issues from reoccurring.

Absentee support services. Many believe that when an individual is absent (particularly with a stress related issue) they shouldn’t be contacted. The reverse is true, it’s important that the individual feels supported and valued. Support services are designed to allow the provider to keep in regular contact with an absentee and offer them support and treatment to help aid their recovery.

Healthy living seminars. From not smoking to exercising, from eating healthily to getting enough sleep, healthy living sessions will offer some easy to implement advice for how to live more healthily. Whether delivered as part of a course or a one off session, healthy living advice will help to promote a healthy culture within your organisation and ultimately increase productivity whilst reducing absences. It will get your workforce taking an interest in the issue of health.

Stress management workshops. Stress is the single biggest cause of unplanned absence days, yet amongst many there is still quite a stigma attached to it. Managing stress workshops will help your staff to identify early signs of stress and take the appropriate action before it interferes too heavily with their work or personal life. These workshops offer advice on avoiding or dealing with stressful situations, managing workloads and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. They will also promote self-esteem and a positive mental attitude in the workplace, as well as reducing future levels of stress. By raising the profile of stress and offering some helpful tips you will notice a reduction in the levels of stress related absences.

Online training tools. Some staff like to complete training and development in their own time so that they can manage their own workloads. To help with this, some providers offer a series of online training tools, giving teachers and support staff access to a range of health promotion materials.

Subsidised extra-curricular activities. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle outside of work isn’t always easy. Some providers will have established partnerships with local gyms and activity groups, giving their clients a wide range of extra-curricular options for subsidised rates.

Smoking, alcohol and drugs management. The dangers associated with smoking, alcohol and drugs are well documented. However, many don’t receive the support they require to quit or reduce their intake. Some providers will offer smoking, alcohol and drugs management to assess and manage this.

General employee health checks. These are full physical and mental health checks. This will identify any potential risk factors and gives the provider feedback on areas in which individuals can be supported. The health check will also give the individual a wealth of useful information on their own body condition and lifestyle improvements they may wish to make.

Musculoskeletal evaluation. This will evaluate the condition of the individual’s muscular and skeletal systems, and any strains as a result of their job role or repetitive activities.

Audiometry testing. For those working in loud environments and at risk of developing hearing problems, testing can identify early damage and check if the current PPE is working and suggest ways to reduce the risk.

Spirometry testing. If your staff are surrounded by hazardous chemicals such as welding fumes, pesticides or any disease of animals communicable to humans, lung capacity and condition should be checked. This requires specialist equipment and specially trained nurses to investigate any potential spirometry issues.

Vision testing. Reliable eyesight is important, however as computers, tablets and mobile phones become more common, so do the associated risks to our vision. Vision testing ensures that this occupational hazard is seen to.