Why have I been referred to occupational health?

If you have been referred to occupational health by your employer, you may have some questions, primarily you may need to understand…’why have I been referred to occupational health?’.

Usually this is because your employer would like some medical advice from a specialist in their field about the best way to manage you whilst you’re experiencing a health concern.

This health concern could be something that you have raised with them directly, or it could be because you are absent from work. It could also be a mental health concern, a physical health concern, or a combination of both.

Your employer will not be a medical specialist, or an occupational health specialist. Therefore, they will not be trained in assessing and managing any occupational health related matters. Nor do they have the expertise to make decisions based on medical factors without the input of a relevant specialist.

That’s where occupational health assessments are used. They give your employer advice on medical issues to enable them to make informed decisions, such as managing and supporting you in the most appropriate way. For example, you may be suffering from a health condition that prevents you being able to complete some tasks at work, but you are still perfectly capable of completing other tasks.

Occupational health reports will advise your employer which tasks you can continue to complete, and which you should refrain from temporarily. They will also advise on whether you need any help in order to complete these tasks.  

Therefore, you don’t need to be absent from work to be referred to occupational health. If you are absent, this may be your first absence at the company, or you may have had multiple absences in the past. Either is perfectly normal.

If you are unsure as to why your employer has referred you to occupational health and what the next steps are, you should always ask them the question and have this conversation with them first. They may be happy to share the referral with you so that you can have sight of this, and gain a better understanding as to what questions they would like asking as part of the process.

You may also have questions about what the process of being referred for an occupational health assessment involves, or how this differs from the need to self-certify or issue a fit note from your GP.

If you would like more information about the process, or would prefer your employer uses Smart Clinic for your occupational health support, please get in touch with us today.