University Health, Safety & Environment Service

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HEALTH SURVEILLANCE TOOLKIT 

a one-stop-shop for your health surveillance needs

Table of Contents

Health Surveillance Forms - Quick Access

When you print out a surveillance form, PLEASE PRINT IT DOUBLE SIDED. This prevent pages from becoming separated during handling and storage.

Surveillance programmeHealth surveillance questionnaire
Skin Health Surveillance Programme - Dermatitis
The skin surveillance programme is for workers at risk of occupational dermatitis
Skin Surveillance Questionnaire  

Respiratory Health Surveillance Programme - Occupational Asthma
The Respiratory Surveillance Programme is for workers at risk of occupational asthma

Respiratory Surveillance Questionnaire

Night Workers Surveillance Programme
General health inquires with regard to night work effects and the management of existing conditions

Night-worker Surveillance Questionnaire  

Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome Surveillance Programme
The HAVS Surveillance Programme is for works at risk of HAVS from contact with vibrating tools.

Hand Arm Vibration Surveillance Questionnaire

 

Health Surveillance Overview 

Health Surveillance Overview

Health surveillance is a system of checks targeted at employees at risk of specified occupational ill health conditions. The checks are designed to identify the early symptoms of ill health. The University provides health surveillance to staff at risk of certain occupational diseases. The University also provides health surveillance to students (undergraduate, postgraduate,etc) where staff in the same position would be subject to surveillance. Where employees have been identified as requiring surveillance, participation is usually mandatory by law. Where students have been identified as requiring surveillance, participation is usually voluntary.

Providing & Delivering Health Surveillance Overview

The University Health Surveillance Policy sets out the responsibilities associated with providing and delivering health surveillance programmes.

The majority of surveillance is delivered by making inquiries about possible symptoms using questionnaires. The completed questionnaires are submitted to UHSE for evaluation.The University has a contract, managed by UHSE, with Royal United Hospital Occupational Health for the provision of advice & further surveillance when needed. The content of completed questionnaires will remain confidential (unless the person under surveillance gives permission for it to be shared). Only the results of evaluations will be reported back to Departments. A standard spreadsheet template is available for enrolled staff and students onto surveillance programmes and reporting results.

Health Surveillance Programmes Overview

The following health surveillance programmes are currently running

  • Skin surveillance programme for staff at risk of occupational dermatitis;
  • Respiratory surveillance programme for staff at risk of for occupational asthma;
  • Hand arm vibration surveillance programme for staff at risk of HAVS; &
  • Night worker surveillance programme for staff at risk of ill health effects associated with night work.

 

Delivering Health Surveillance Programmes - Getting Started for Departments 

The Delivering Health Surveillance Flowchart provides an overview of how health surveillance is delivered. The University Health Surveillance Policy sets out the responsibilities associated with providing and delivering health surveillance programmes.


Delivering Health Surveillance Programmes - Five Step Programme for Departments

STEP 1: Identify & record surveillance requirements

  • Identify staff & students who need to be enrolled on a health surveillance programme. Programme specific guidance on who should be enrolled on each programme can be found below & assistance is available from UHSE. Make a record using the Enrolled for Health Surveillance Pro Forma - a spreadsheet template. Departments may choose to create a new list for each round of surveillance or update an existing list.
     
  • The following health surveillance programmes are currently running

    • Skin surveillance programme for staff at risk of occupational dermatitis;
    • Respiratory surveillance programme for staff at risk of for occupational asthma;
    • Hand arm vibration surveillance programme for staff at risk of HAVS; &
    • Night worker surveillance programme for staff at risk of ill health effects associated with night work.

STEP 2: Report requirements to UHSE

  • Send a copy of the completed Enrolled for Health Surveillance Pro Forma to UHSE. The supplied pro forma will be used to track surveillance returns, track and further actions & report surveillance findings back to the Department

STEP 3: Direct completion of questionnaires

  • Direct enrolled staff & students to complete the relevant surveillance questionnaire form(s) & submit them to UHSE for evaluation. The content of completed questionnaires will remain confidential (unless the person under surveillance gives permission for it to be shared)

STEP 4: Act on the results

  • Act on the surveillance results as they are reported. This will including chasing up outstanding surveillance questionnaire returns with enrolled users - where employees have been identified as requiring surveillance, participation is usually mandatory by law.

STEP 5: Repeat as required

  • Repeat as required by the surveillance programme - this will usually be annually, unless the RUH-OH advise differently.

 

Skin Health Surveillance - Dermatitis - Programme Details

Identifying Surveillance Requirements

The Health & Safety executive has published a wealth of material on occupational dermatitis.

  • Irritant contact dermatitis is caused by skin contact with strong irritants or repeated exposure to weaker irritants. Irritants can be chemical (eg detergents, solvents, oils, etc.), biological or mechanical. Repeated wet work for long periods can cause irritant contact dermatitis.
  • Allergic contact dermatitis is caused by skin contact with allergens – materials that can sensitise individuals. Once sensitised, any contact is likely to trigger allergic contact dermatitis.

Workers with dermatitis may be more vulnerable to injury – they may suffer occupational skin infections for instance

Employees who are exposed to hazards likely to cause irritant contact dermatitis or allergic contact dermatitis must be enrolled on the surveillance programme.

There is no definitive list of materials that can cause dermatitis. Departments will need to consult Material Safety Data Sheets & risk assessments – being particularly alert for the “R43 May cause sensitisation by skin contact” risk phrase. The HSE has published a list of activities & agents commonly encountered in industry that might pose a dermatitis risk. This list can be used as shortcut to identify “at risk” workers.

 

Occupational dermatitis - workers at risk
  • Agricultural work (artificial fertilisers, solvents, wet-work, wood dust, etc.);
  • Carpentry work (wood dust, preservatives, dyes, fungicides, solvents, etc.);
  • Catering work (cleaning products, vegetable juices, wet-work. garlic, etc;
  • Cleaning work (cleaning products, solvents, wet-work, etc.);
  • Construction work (cement, dusts, solvents, wet-work, building materials, etc.);
  • Workshop work (oils, solvents, metal shavings & dust – especially chromium & nickel, hand cleaning products, etc)
  • Painting work (aggressive hand cleaners, solvents, thinners, chromium, epoxy, polyester resins, etc.); &
  • Veterinarian work (animal proteins, disinfectants, wet-work, antibiotics & antiseptics, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, latex protein, etc.)

 

Respiratory Health Surveillance - Occupational Asthma - Programme Details

Identifying Surveillance Requirements

The Health & Safety Executive has a published a wealth of material on occupational asthma.

Occupational asthma is caused by exposure to asthmagens – materials that can sensitise individuals. Measures can be taken to reduce the risks when handling asthmagens, but there is no safe exposure level.Asthma attacks in sensitised individuals can be triggered by small exposures to the asthmagen or by exposure to general respiratory irritants (eg dust). Asthma is a permanent condition & possibly disabling. Early detection & intervention can limit the effects and improve the prognosis. However, the effects are not reversible

Employees who may be exposed to significant asthamagen levels must be placed on the respiratory surveillance list.

There is no definitive list of asthmagens & Departments will need to consult Material Safety Data Sheets & risk assessments - being particularly alert for the. “R42 May cause sensitisation by inhalation” risk phrase. The HSE has published a list of asthmagens commonly encountered in industry - a shortened & more extensive list has been published.

Some examples of asthmagens that might be encountered in the University are listed below, but this is not a definitive list:

 

Occupational asthma - exposures that put workers at risk
  • Animal & insect proteins, excreta & secreta;
  • Some wood dusts (both hardwood & softwood);
  • Isocyanates;
  • Gluteraldehyde; &
  • Solder fume & resin.

 

For some workers who are at a higher risk of asthma, the program may forgo the questionnaire and use lung function tests administered by the RUH-OH Service instead.  

 

 

Night Worker Health Surveillance - Programme Details

Identifying Surveillance Requirements

The Health & Safety Executive has published information about the health risks faced by night workers, but this is scattered through various documents. Night workers may suffer from sleep loss, poor quality sleep and fatigue, which may cause or exacerbate ill health. Night work may make some health conditions more difficult to manage – epilepsy and diabetes being two prime examples. Any employee who undertakes night work on a regular basis should be placed on the surveillance list.

 

Night workers - workers who are night-workers

The Working Time Regulations 1989 contains an unwieldy legalistic definition of a night worker (in Regulation 2(1) – Interpretation).  For the purpose of health surveillance, the following definition is manageable and meets the aims of the surveillance requirement.

A night worker is someone whose daily working time includes at least three hours of night-time work (i.e. between midnight and 5:00am) on the majority of days, or regularly as part of a rota.

 

Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome Surveillance - Programme Details

Identifying Surveillance Requirements

Hand arm vibration is vibration transmitted from work processes into workers’ hands & arms. Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome is caused by repeated exposure to vibrations from hand held power tools – the vibrations can damage blood vessels, nerves and joints, causing permanent, painful & disabling disorders. (Vibration White Finder is one possible manifestation of HAVS.) The Health & Safety Executive has a published a wealth of material on Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome

Early detection & intervention can limit the effects and improve the prognosis. However, the effects are not reversible.

Employees who may be exposed to hand arm vibration on a regular basis must be placed on the surveillance list. The Health & Safety Executive exposure calculator provides a shortcut to identifying persons at risk. There is no definitive list of equipment & activities that can cause HAVS.

 

Occupational HAVS - equipment that might put workers at risk

Regular use of any of the following hand tools (or comparable hand tools) may create a HAVS risk & should trigger surveillance:

  • Chainsaws;
  • Concrete breakers/road breakers;
  • Hammer drills;
  • Hand-held grinders;
  • Impact wrenches;
  • Jigsaws;
  • Pedestal grinders;
  • Power hammers & chisels;
  • Powered lawn mowers;
  • Powered sanders; and
  • Strimmers / brush cutters.
  • etc

 

Documents Attached

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