Role and Function
Occupational Health (OH) protects your health whilst at work by assessing and advising on your ongoing fitness for work, to ensure that work related health issues are managed effectively. We are based at 63 Oakfield Avenue: more information is available on our webpages.
OH does not provide health treatment services. Staff and students are encouraged to register with a GP in their area. First aid will be provided by your local departmental First Aider or any member of Campus Security staff, who can be called on Ext 4444 in the case of an emergency.
Student Health Services
Vocational students (medical/nursing/dental and vet) are required to submit a health declaration form to OH prior to commencing their course. We do not provide any other OH student services. More information can be found on our webpages.
The University offers employees an independant, free and confidential counselling service to provide the opportunity to discuss problems away from their work place. Employees can self refer. Telephone 0800 282 193 to arrange an appointment. For additional information please click here.
Line Manager Referral - Why am I being referred and how will it happen?
The Occupational Health Unit (OHU) is an advisory service whose role is to provide impartial advice regarding fitness for work to line managers. Managers are responsible for the monitoring and management of sickness absence of staff. This OH advice is aimed at assisting employees to regain and retain their good health and return to a suitable job as soon as their recovery allows. Upon referral by the line manager, employees are required to attend OH for assessment. More information is available on the Occupational Health web pages.
Line Manager Referral - Must I attend?
If you feel unable to undergo the assessment you should inform your manager. Without the benefit of guidance from OH, your managers may make decisions regarding your ongoing employment based on the information available to them. Alternatively, the OH Adviser (OHA) will discuss any concerns you may have about the appointment on the day but will not proceed further without your consent.
Equality Act 2010 / Reasonable adjustments
If you have a disability which may require reasonable adjustments in order for you to carry out your work at the University, the Disability Service can provide service and support. To access the support available at the Disability Service your first step is to contact Occupational Health. We can advise you on any adjustments that may be appropriate and refer you to the Disability Service.
The standards of confidentiality for records held by your general practitioner or any hospital specialist you may have seen also apply to occupational health records. Consequently, neither your manager nor Human Resources staff has access to your records. Details of your records will only be released at your request or, in exceptional circumstances, as a legal or ethical requirement.
Employees can be referred through the OHU to other support services: physiotherapy/counselling/psychology/psychiatric if this is thought appropriate and with employee consent.
Follow up to Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessment
Employers are required to provide staff with the appropriate information to carry out an analysis of your workstation. This is referred to as a DSE assessment. Information about how to carry out a DSE assessment of your work area can be found on the Safety & Environmental Protection Services website.
After undertaking a DSE assessment, if the problem is unresolved and might be medically-related, contact OH who will arrange to follow this up.
Employees who are exposed to respiratory sensitisers (e.g. some chemicals) during the course of their work must attend Occupational Health for health surveillance.
Noise/Skin/Lungs/Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)/Ionising Radiation
The Occupational Health Unit (OHU) provides health surveillance for university staff who are exposed to hazards whilst at work; noise, fumes, chemicals, dust, vibration for example. Your employer has a duty of care to you and in order to check that the hazards are not affecting your health, and that the safeguards in place are working correctly they are required under law to provide health surveillance. Employees who fall into any of the above catagories and who need health surveillance, will be informed by their line manager following a risk assessment. Health surveillance may start before being exposed to any of these hazards and may involve attending the OHU for some initial tests to be carried out.
The Pre-exposure questionnaire should be completed by those who are attending the Occupational Health Unit prior to commencing research/work with potenitally hazardous chemicals, Ionising Radiation, Genetically Modified Organisms or Lead. Your manager will let you know if you will need a research passport before starting work in specialised areas.
Work-related stress is a primary cause of occupational ill health and sickness absence, affecting both physical and mental health and leading to decreased productivity and increased human error, with the potential for increased accidents at work. Whilst stress at work is a key concern, it is widely recognised that pressures from outside work frequently contribute to an individual's likelihood to feel stressed and that these factors should also be taken into account where possible.
The University has developed a new policy on the Management of Stress and Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace which is published here. It is important that you take time to read this as it gives helpful advice both on how to recognise stress and also the measures in place for identifying workplace stressors, reducing and managing stress and the support available to employees experiencing stress at work.
"Wellbeing" is variously described but makes reference to being in a state of healthiness, happiness, contentedness along with such conditions as prosperity, success and welfare. It is recognised to be a personal experience. However, it is becoming widely accepted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and other health-focused bodies like the World Health Organisation (WHO) that a sense of wellbeing is important to all individuals in order to maintain good physical and mental health and to achieve their true potential.
The University recognises the value of wellbeing within the workforce, both to employees and to the overall productivity of the organisation. Whilst the wellbeing remit sits within Health, Safety & Wellbeing there are clearly other services within the University that contribute to employee wellbeing. With this in mind, there is a University Wellbeing Forum that has membership from both student and staff representatives, as well as from such diverse areas as human resources, occupational health, catering services, sports and recreation and many others. This groups role is to identify the good practice we have, communicate this across the university and suggest ways to continually improve wellbeing.
There are a variety of support services available for employees through the university. Some are delivered in-house and others through externally appointed contractors. The in-house services include Occupational Health, Chaplaincy Services, Disability Service, Safety & Environmental Protection Services, Equality & Diversity and Trade Union Health & Safety Representatives. A confidential counselling service through an independant body can be accessed individually or through Occupational Health. Details on the counselling service are here
Work activities have to be risk assessed for stress, as for other hazards. There are two methods adopted within the policy for stress risk assessment at the University of Glasgow. Local risk assessment is within the responsibilities for Line Managers and includes consideration of stress within general risk assessments, as well as making use of local meetings with teams and individuals to continually assess work pressures such as demands, working relationships or organisational change that can result in stress.
There is also an organisational risk assessment which is conducted through the staff opinion survey by means of a 35 question set designed by HSE to identify and measure stressors within an organisation. This helps the University to identify trends and priorities on which to focus and enables the organisation to produce a stress management action plan with which to tackle such issues. The staff opinion survey may be followed up by meetings with groups of staff designed to identify local solutions to particular problems.
Stress can lead to a variety of undesirable and detrimental physical and psychological reactions resulting in poor work performance, aggressive or regressive (childish) behaviour, being withdrawn, various physical symptoms or other behaviours. It is important that all employees are aware of the types of work pressures that can become stressful and of the signs and symptoms that may indicate that they, their colleagues or staff are suffering from stress.