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Health surveillance
Domain: Health and safety at work => Preventive measures
Grammatical category
Noun phrase
Grammar notes
Monitoring the health of employees to detect signs or symptoms of work related ill-health so that steps can be taken to eliminate, or reduce, the probability of further damage. Every employer shall ensure that his employees are provided with such health surveillance as is appropriate having regard to the risks to their health and safety which are identified by the risk assessment.
Health surveillance may involve one or more health surveillance procedures, which can include:
1) inspection of readily detectable conditions by a responsible person acting within the limits of their training and experience;
2) enquiries about symptoms, inspection and examination by a qualified person such as an Occupational Health Nurse;
3) medical surveillance, which may include clinical examination and measurement of physiological or psychological effects by an appropriately qualified person;
4) biological effect monitoring, i.e. the measurement and assessment of early biological effects such as diminished lung function in exposed workers;
5) biological monitoring.

Other information The primary benefit, and therefore objective of health surveillance should be to detect adverse health effects at an early stage, thereby enabling further harm to be prevented. The results of health surveillance can provide a means of checking the effectiveness of control measures, providing feedback on the accuracy of the risk assessment, and identifying and protecting individuals at increased risk because of the nature of their work. Employers must keep a health record for each individual employee placed under health surveillance and are recommended to keep an index or list of the names of people undergoing, or who have undergone, health surveillance.
Definition source
BS 8800:1996 (Occupational health and safety management systems); reg.6 of The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, Approved Code of Practice and Guidance; Control of substances hazardous to health Regulations 2002 – Approved Code of Practice and Guidance.
European legislation
Directive 89/391/EEC
British legislation
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999; The Control of substances hazardous to health Regulations 2002
Concept diagram