Not sure if you should sign up for health monitoring? Relax. Our quick guide to health monitoring makes it easy to understand what your obligations are. Here’s everything you need to know if you’re wondering whether you need to monitor the health of your team.
Identify the hazards
A good starting point is to review the hazards in your workplace. Every business is different so it’s important to begin with your own assessment of your working conditions.
Health monitoring is not about monitoring wellbeing, driving healthy living or exploring fitness-to-work. Health monitoring is about understanding a hazard that your employees are exposed to and performing regular tests to ensure it isn’t impacting their health.
If you want to know more about the hazards you should be looking for, you can take a look at the WorkSafe NZ website.
Once you’ve identified the hazards in your workplace, you can start monitoring exposure. Exposure monitoring is simply tracking the level and duration of exposure your employees are experiencing.
Exposure monitoring includes monitoring conditions in the workplace as well as the biological monitoring of members of your team. Examples of exposure monitoring include getting employees to wear personal monitoring equipment as they work; testing blood or urine for traces of harmful elements; taking air samples to measure the level of dangerous particles.
Exposure monitoring is important because you need to track whether levels of exposure are harmful and whether control measures you introduce are effective in minimising exposure. The full details of your responsibilities as an employer can be found in the Health and Safety Act 2015.
An important part of exposure monitoring is ensuring that you have provided the correct protective equipment or clothing to protect your employees. This could include ear protectors to protect employees from harmful noise levels; dust masks to protect from harmful dust particles; or eye goggles to protect eyes from dangerous particles or flying objects.
Protective measures may be equipment or they could also involve minimising the duration of exposure. If you are unsure of the best ways to protect your team, we recommend contacting WorkSafe NZ. You could also try reading the Health and Safety at Work Quick Reference Guide. This is a great introduction to your obligations as an employer and the tools available.
Monitor Employee Health
Once you have identified and monitored the hazards in your workplace, it’s important to monitor the health of your employees. Health monitoring allows you to both track exposure and ensure that hazards are not negatively impacting your team.
Health monitoring should be carried out regularly in order to provide ongoing data that can be used to demonstrate that your control measures are effective. It is only valid if carried out by a qualified health professional.
Health monitoring typically involves hearing or vision tests or spirometry which tests lung function. Health monitoring only needs to be carried out for the hazards your employees are exposed to. For example, if your employees are only exposed to loud noises then there is no need to test lung function.
A report is issued
The results of health monitoring are shared with the employee and the employee should always be encouraged to share these results with their GP. Health monitoring reports are confidential and should only be available to the people in your business who require the information – i.e. the Health and Safety Manager.
Health monitoring reports should be retained and reviewed regularly as they measure the effectiveness of exposure monitoring and control measures. They are an important aspect of managing a safe working environment for your employees.
Why choose WorkAble?
Our aim is to make Health Monitoring easy for your business. Our team of registered nurses give your employees the support they need to feel comfortable and confident throughout the health monitoring process.
WorkAble provides Health Monitoring services for businesses across Bay of Plenty, Tairāwhiti (Gisborne) and Hawke’s Bay. We come to you, allowing you to minimise the downtime and cost of health monitoring. Your team don’t need to leave their place of work for monitoring so you don’t need to organise transport or cover.