Health Surveillance of Workers
As part of their duty of care towards employees, managers need to ensure that they perform regular surveillance of their workers. This is to observe and identify health conditions which may be caused by and/or affect their ability to work safely, such as using machinery which has the potential to seriously injure themselves or those around them.
The Danger from Hazardous Substances
This possibility exists in just about every industry, but is a particular concern in those industries where workers will frequently encounter hazardous substances as they go about their duties, either through actively using the substances as part of their job, or encountering them as a by-product of the tasks they perform, e.g. dust from drilling or paint fumes.
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health regulations, or COSHH for short, have been put into place in order to ensure the health and safety of workers. These regulations make it mandatory for employers to take steps to prevent harm coming to their employees as a consequence of them coming into contact with substances which can be harmful to their health.
Even with such suitable precautions in place, it is still necessary for employers to monitor employees to identify any signs associated with illness caused by the substances involved. Not only will managers and supervisors need to be suitably trained themselves so that they know about the changes and signs that signal the beginnings of an illness related to the substances, but they also need to ensure that sufficient monitoring of workers takes place. Even with all suitable precautions taken, procedures put in place and safety controls enacted in the workplace, there is still always the potential for these measures not to be 100% effective, making it vitally important that consistent health monitoring takes place to notice any signs of illnesses related to the substances as soon as possible. Identifying illnesses early may make all the difference between a complete recovery and a life-shortening illness.
Not just COSHH
Hazardous substances are by no means the only risks to health and safety which need monitoring by managers and supervisors. The effects of other conditions such as workplace stress, psychological trauma (e.g. witnessing an accident to a colleague), alcohol and substance abuse, persistent loud noise etc all need to be looked out for as a worker who is suffering from such issues may not only have their own health and safety at risk, but might also put their fellow workers at risk if they were to cause an accident to take place. The dangers from hazardous substances and these other conditions are all covered on a NEBOSH General Certificate course such as is their importance. It is crucial that managers are aware of such risks, with health and safety training courses like the NEBOSH General Certificate being suitable for both managers and workers alike.