occupational health

What you should Consider When Referring an Employee to Occupational Health

May 2018

Before even thinking of terminating someone’s employment on the grounds of ill health, Kays Medical always advise commissioning a statement from your occupational health specialist.

Before undergoing any process of referral, you should begin by asking yourself: 

  • If the employee’s ill-health is permanent, does it fluctuate, is it progressive or, in fact, resolvable?
  • Is the worker currently fit to carry out their role?
  • Is there any action that can be taken by the organisation to help support the worker?
  • If retirement from ill health is likely.
  • If a further OH referral would be necessitous.
  • If the staff member is likely to return to work and when.

By answering these questions, you can begin to form a picture of the situation. After you’ve answered those questions and gained a picture of how best to proceed, you must begin to ask yourself about their returning to work. This will help you decide:

  • If the employee is able to return
  • What work can be conducted when they do return
  • If a phased return is considered what days or hours will be covered
  • If any adjustments or modifications can be made to the employee’s role or hours

When considering occupational health’s review it may be useful to carry out a risk assessment, which should be done in partnership with the staff member. In addition to these steps you should also keep a record of:

  • The reason for their absence
  • Their duties; comprising the nature of the work environment and prospective demands on the worker
  • Their hours or pattern of work
  • And any actions are taken thus far in relation to the absence.

Keep in mind that the staff member has a right of access to this report and you will want to discuss the contents with them, professionalism is a given in these circumstances regarding the referral letter.

A report from Kays OH services will then help you decide if the staff member is able to fulfil the role and when a return to work is to be expected.

If you would like to learn more about the employer/employee rights with occupational health, speak to a member of our team today.

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