A systematic approach to health surveillance in the workplace

ArticleinOccupational Medicine 45(6):305-10 · January 1996with3 Reads
Impact Factor: 1.02 · DOI: 10.1093/occmed/45.6.305 · Source: PubMed


    This paper reviews the range of health surveillance activities which can be utilized in the workplace by occupational health
    professionals for assessing fitness for work and contributing to the prevention of occupational illness and promotion of good
    health. The systematic approach described categorizes health surveillance procedures into occupational or non-occupational,
    risk-based or unfocused, and as primary, secondary or tertiary preventive measures. All categories of health surveillance
    are currently being practised to some extent, but the type of surveillance may not match the needs of the workplace in some
    situations. In order to aid health professionals in deciding which procedures should be implemented, recommendations based
    on an assessment of health risks are made. The key proposal is to establish a minimum level of periodic health surveillance
    for all workers based on a targeted lifestyle health risk assessment and a structured health questionnaire. Additional procedures
    can then be added sequentially as appropriate to manage any health risks in the workplace. The role of the unfocused periodic
    general nedical examination is discussed in the context of the systematic approach and allows occupational professionals to
    critically appraise its usefulness.