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What you need to know about Medical Surveillance: Your employee's seven obligations

by , 29 April 2015
When it comes to Medical Surveillance, keep in mind that it's a process that will help you determine if your employees' health is deteriorating because they're exposed to hazards at work.

The aim of this process is to ensure your employees are medically fit to do the work you employed them to.

Let's see who needs to know about medical surveillance...

First of all, employers need to know if any of the work performed by their employees is declared as listed work. If so, the conditions and circumstances specified must be implemented and maintained for the listed work to be performed. These circumstances can specify that medical surveillance must be performed.

Secondly, your job is to identify the hazards, precautions and measures that must be taken to protect the health and safety of your employees. These hazards and exposures needing surveillance or medicals can be found in the OHSA Regulations. For instance, the  Hazardous Chemical Substances and Noise Induced Hearing Loss regulations.

As the employer, you must know what medical surveillance is and how to implement it in your workplace if you expose employees to hazardous work. If you don't, there will be an increase in the number of incidents (injury and/or occupational disease).

Pay attention to the fact that this could result in you paying higher COID tariffs, because of your higher compensation claims than your COID industry category.

This means you could end up paying increased annual assessment (premium) rates. You could even end up paying all costs of medical care to your workers for injuries or diseases sustained because of their work if the compensation commissioner considers you negligent for causing the employee's exposure and health deterioration.

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It would take you the entire day just to think of the 100 questions that you should be asking yourself when doing your internal audit.

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What exactly ARE the 100 questions you should be an swering?

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Let's look at what your obligations are to avoid this

1.  You must provide and maintain a working environment that's safe and without risk to the health of your employees (Section 8, OHSA).

2.  Ensure your employees are under medical surveillance if they're exposed to hazardous agents;

3.  Offer medical examination to employees – as an employer you have every right to ask potential employees or existing employees to undergo a medical examination or medical surveillance (Section 7, EEA);

4.  Ensure that an OHMP draws up a medical surveillance programme for employees exposed to hazardous agents;

5.  Investigate and record all incidents that might have resulted in infections, injuries or death because of exposure to hazardous agents;

6.  Don't allow any employee who's unfit for duty to work in the workplace where he's exposed to risks, until the employee is declared fit; an

7.  Keep all medical surveillance records for a minimum period of 40 years (Regulation 14, OHSA).

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