SC24 - Health surveillance and screening
06 Dec 2010



Occupational Health Surveillance and Health Screening Medicals




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Initial la​unchMarch 2009
1.1Minor changes to comply with changes to other codesNovember 2011
1.2Amendments to audit checklistMay 2013
1.3Additions to 4.3 re transfer of health surveillance and monitoring recordsJuly 2013
1.4Amendment to 'Night Working' in Appendix 1 and addition of Document Retention AppendixSept 2014
Minor change to Document Retention Policy
June 2017
​Minor update to reflect the launch of SHE Assure
​October 2018​
​Update to Appendix 1 and document retention
​April 2019​
​Change to Document Retention policy to reflect UKRI code
​December 2019

1. Purpose

Absence arising from work related, or occupational, ill health or disease in the UK far exceeds the impact of that arising from occupational injuries. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reports that in 2007/8 2.1 million employees were suffering from illness they believed was caused or made worse by their current or past work, over half being musculo skeletal upper limb and back disorders.

While the cost and impact of an injury is easily related to a specific incident and the effects generally immediate, occupational ill health or diseases are typically characterised by cumulative and low level exposure to hazards for which the impact can take many years to manifest. Occupational ill health or diseases are also characterised by their long term or chronic nature resulting in permanent disability and/or suffering affecting an individual's quality of life. The consequences of long term absence arising from occupational ill health or disease can be financially significant to both employer and employee.

Most occupational ill health or disease can be prevented by taking effective steps to control the hazards to health that arise from for example: chemicals; radiation; display screen equipment; manual handling; vibrating machinery; noise etc.

The STFC is committed to minimising the incidence of occupational ill health or disease through the effective control of such hazards and the adoption of proactive supporting strategies to demonstrate that control measures remain effective and to confirm the medical fitness of individuals to take on and continue in particular roles.

These supporting strategies include:

  • Health Surveillance; and
  • Health Screening.

This code aims to deliver consistent occupational health standards across all STFC sites and meet the occupational health requirements set out in legislation, for example:

  • The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations, 2002.
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, 1999.
  • The Noise at Work Regulations, 2005.
  • Ionising Radiation Regulations, 2017

Occupational Health service provision is available to all STFC staff but may vary in the manner it is delivered depending on location, from full time on site provision through to contracted off site services.

2. Scope

All STFC staff, and tenants, who are responsible for staff or others whose work exposes them to hazards for which health surveillance and health screening is required to confirm medical fitness of individuals to undertake work with these hazards.

Contractors, tenants, visitors and facility users shall ensure that they undertake necessary health surveillance and screening prior to undertaking activities on STFC sites where these are necessary.

This code does not address the particular management controls that should be employed to minimise the potential for occupational ill health or disease these are covered by specific codes relating to those hazards for example: Radiation Management; Manual Handling; management of Noise etc where the need for health surveillance will be noted.

3. Definitions

3.1 Health Surveillance

The process of developing and implementing systematic, regular and appropriate procedures to detect the early signs of work-related ill health, where they exist, among employees exposed to certain health hazards in the work place. As appropriate, act upon the results of such procedures in determining their fitness to carry out designated tasks or confirm the effectiveness of measures employed to control a potential health hazard.

3.2 Health Screening

Any test or examination, whether legally required or not, intended to establish an individuals baseline health and confirm their initial and ongoing suitability for a particular job / task. This process may rely on paper screening (e.g. questionnaires to determine pre-existing medical conditions), physical examinations or both. Such screening would be employed to ensure that individuals' with particular medical conditions are not endangered by the nature of their duties for example using overhead cranes; driving fork lift trucks; or working at height/climbing, see Appendix 1, and confirm their on-going health.

3.3 Appointed Doctor

Under regulation 2(1) of the Ionising Radiations Regulations, 2017, means a registered medical practitioner who meets such recognition criteria as may from time to time be specified in writing by the HSE.  The Appointed Doctor is also referred to in the Ionising Radiation Regulations 2017 as the relevant doctor in accordance with Regulation 25(2).

3.4 Classified Person

An individual designated as such, under regulation 21(1) of the Ionising Radiation Regulations, 2017.

3.5 Health Record

In relation to an employee, the HSE defined record of health surveillance of that employee maintained by the STFC in accordance with regulation 25​(3) of the Ionising Radiation Regulations, 2017​, or the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations, 2002.

4. Responsibilities

4.1 Line Managers and Supervisors shall:
  • 4.1.1 In undertaking Risk Assessment of work, as defined in STFC SHE Code 6, Risk Management or any other STFC SHE code, ensure that specific consideration is given to health risks arising from work undertaken. Appendix 1 details the requirement for health surveillance, and health screening for common hazards. Where work is undertaken by contractors, ensure that they are subject to relevant health surveillance and screening for the hazards they work with on STFC sites by their employers.

  • 4.1.2 As appropriate seek the guidance and advice of the STFC SHE Group or Occupational Health teams with respect to the need for health surveillance.
  • 4.1.3 Ensure that all staff have sufficient information, instruction and training to understand the potential for, symptoms of and the need to report all instances of occupational ill health or disease arising from the hazards likely to be encountered during the course of their work.
  • 4.1.4 Ensure all new staff undertake, as detailed in Appendix 1, new starter medicals and all staff undertake health screening and medicals necessary for the hazards likely to be encountered during the course of their work.
  • 4.1.5 Immediately report all actual or suspected instances of occupational ill health or disease to the STFC SHE Group see STFC SHE Code 5: Incident reporting and investigation and local Occupational Health teams.
4.2 STFC Staff shall:
  • 4.2.1 Report to their line manager or supervisor any pre-existing medical or health condition that may be exacerbated as a result of their STFC employment.
  • 4.2.2 Follow all instruction and training, and safe systems of work or operating instructions, with respect to the potential health hazards associated with their work.
  • 4.2.3 Report promptly to their supervisor or line manger any symptoms or ill health which they believe may be related to their work, for example cough, wheeze or rash.
4.3 Occupational Health shall:
  • 4.3.1 Provide pro-active and reactive advice, guidance and support to line managers with respect to occupational health hazards and their assessment, and the clinical investigation of incidents of occupational ill health.
  • 4.3.2 Co-ordinate and complete programmes of health assessments: pre-employment medical assessments; and statutory medical assessments (see Appendix 1) and health surveillance and health screening, as requested by line managers. Provide line management with a ‘Health Record’ for staff – a non-medically confidential certificate describing an individual’s fitness for work arising from health assessments. Manage the periodic recall of individuals for health assessments.
  • 4.3.3 In the event that STFC divests itself of any part of its operations to a new organisation, transfer all ‘Health Records’ and records of exposure monitoring for any staff transferred to the new organisation. Copies of any such records transferred shall be kept by the STFC as per 4.3.6.
  • 4.3.4 In the event that STFC divests itself of any part of its operations to a new organisation Occupational Health team advice should be sought with regard to the transfer of ‘Clinical Records’ for staff.  ‘Clinical Records’ are medically confidential records of an individual’s health managed by health professionals under the provisions of the Data Protection Act, 1998.
  • 4.3.5 In the event that STFC ceases to operate, offer all ‘Health Records’, ‘Clinical Records’ and records of exposure monitoring to the relevant local HSE office.
  • 4.3.6 Maintain ‘Health Records’, ‘Clinical Records’ and records of exposure monitoring ensuring appropriate levels of confidentiality for 50 years.​
Contact: Baker, Gareth (STFC,DL,COO)