In the old days, work was work and home was home and the employee was only the employer’s problem at work. These days, though, employers are smarter, and they’ve come to recognize that poor worker health isn’t just their problem – it’s an expensive problem, costing US businesses $84 billion every year.
It should come as no surprise, considering that 77% of workers have one or more chronic conditions or a higher-than-normal BMI, and those workers miss 1/3 of a day each month on average more than healthy colleagues. That lost time tallies up at $160 billion in lost productivity.
What’s a responsible employer to do? For a start, you need effective health and safety programs, and that all begins with a strong occupational health workplace assessment. Here’s how to conduct yours.
What Is an Occupational Health Workplace Assessment?
According to the CDC, an occupational health workplace assessment is the process of gathering information about factors that support or hinder workplace health. It identifies the current state of health in your organization and ways to improve your health outcomes, which could include anything from reduced healthcare costs to reduced absenteeism.
This is your first step in occupational health. You can’t set goals or allocate resources unless you know what you’re trying to achieve, and a workplace health assessment lets you know exactly what you need to achieve.
Types of Assessments
If it sounds like a pretty big umbrella, that’s because it is. There are actually several types of occupational health workplace assessments based on what you’re looking for and even the hiring stage. Some of the most common types include:
- Pre-employment health assessments
- Fitness for work assessments
- Job-specific assessments
- Mental health assessments
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers cannot use health assessments to discriminate against a candidate on the basis of disability. If you required a pre-employment health assessment, for example, this can only be performed after a job offer has been made, and failure of a test can only be used to rescind a job offer in cases where passing the test is a basic requirement of successful job performance, such as fitness tests for firefighters.
However, assessments can also be done to help fit a job to an employee, including those returning to work after an extended absence. This is where fitness for work assessments come in. For example, if someone has a condition which will be made worse by the job (such as someone with dermatitis who has to work around chemicals) then a fitness for work assessment can be used to help figure out the appropriate protection.
Conducting an assessment depends on the assessment in question. It should always be performed by a licensed professional, though some assessments (site visits, for example) can be performed by your EHS team.
Let’s Take Worker Health to the Next Level
No matter what your unique occupational health workplace assessment looks like, your job remains the same: to keep your workers healthy. Our job is to make your job easier, with safety and health management software that allow you to recognize important factors and make data-driven decisions.
Sound good? Then get in touch today to find out about how our software can support occupational health for your whole organization.