What Employers Need to Know about Occupational Health

By Haley Bass | 09/20/2017

Your employees are your greatest investment. When they get sick or injured on the job, getting them back to full health and function is your number one priority. Making sure they don’t get sick or hurt in the first place? Even better.

There’s a whole field in the health care industry devoted to helping you keep your workforce safe and healthy: occupational health. Occupational health protects your employees from the risks and hazards of the workplace, providing everything from injury prevention and pre-placement testing to injury care and physical therapy.

Regardless of your company’s size or how many injuries you handle each year, an occupational health program can help reduce overall health care costs and improve employee productivity. Here are several ways occupational health services can benefit your business.

Start off on the right foot.

You can improve an employee’s safety and well-being before they even start their first day. Pre-placement physical exams and pre-employment drug screenings can help ensure that potential hires are fit to safely perform their jobs.

Pre-placement physicals, or human performance evaluations (HPEs), compare the physical abilities of a potential candidate to the physical requirements of a job, determining whether the employee can safely perform essential job duties. This empowers employers to hire the right personnel and avoid potential injuries.

Set employees up for success (not injuries).

An injury prevention program can educate employees on safe work practices, helping them avoid injuries at work. Guided by physical therapists (PTs), they teach employees about the benefits of regular exercise, which will keep them healthy, fit, and energized. PTs can also lead your workforce in proper stretching methods and safe lifting techniques to prevent overexertion injuries. Even those who require less movement throughout the day, ergonomics can help to reduce the risk of a repetitive motion injury by designing a workspace to fit the worker, allowing them to comfortably and safely complete their job.

If an employee injury does happen, you want to ensure that they receive immediate and effective treatment from a provider. The sooner an employee starts treatment after an injury, the sooner the recovery can begin. This early intervention philosophy, combined with an active treatment plan that keeps patients moving through the healing process, ultimately yields a faster and fuller recovery. 

Prevent illness by protecting health.

Keeping employees safe and healthy on the job should include preventive measures for illness as well as injuries. Health screenings, vaccinations, and medical surveillance exams protect workers from various health issues and hazards, both at work and at home.

Regular health screenings (or preventive exams) can help employees know if they’re facing potential health problems and direct them toward a treatment plan or wellness program. Regular vaccinations and travel health shots can help prevent workers from contracting infectious diseases and viruses, whether they’re working at home or in another country.

For employers who work with hazardous materials, medical surveillance experts can help employers reduce workers’ exposure to occupational hazards, lowering the risk of acute health issues. If employees are regularly exposed to hazards at work, like toxic chemicals or extremes of temperature or noise, medical surveillance exams will protect workers by enabling quality control processes.

From occupational injuries, to health and safety design to medical surveillance, occupational health is all designed to keep you and your workforce health and safe. Whether you’re looking for prevention or treatment services, occupational health providers offer the services you need to maintain a safe and healthy workforce.

As the largest occupational health provider in the nation, Concentra will partner with you to protect your greatest assets while saving you money. Ready to learn more? Contact one of our work health experts to get started.