Occupational Health

The Occupational Health and Wellbeing Service at Dorset HealthCare provide a wide range of services to help local businesses support staff health at work.

As a business, you may have a legal requirement to provide health surveillance for your employees where they are exposed to certain hazards in their job such as noise, chemicals, dust or vibration.

We offer a free health needs assessment to help you identify what services will help you to comply with your obligations under health and safety law and we can deliver a wide range of health surveillance services at your premises or at our premises in Dorchester and Bournemouth.


Many employers also realise the benefit of seeking expert occupational health advice to support staff with acute or long-term health conditions. Occupational Health specialists can advise on fitness for work and reasonable adjustments assisting you to help staff remain at or return to work, comply with employment legislation and reduce costs associated with sickness absence or litigation. We can also offer training or health checks to help you support employee wellbeing.

For more information on our services or to request a free health needs assessment please download and complete our 'OH Needs Assessment' form or contact us on 01305 363800 or email us at occupational.health@nhs.net

Occupational Health Services

We offer a wide range of occupational health services, both in our clinical facilities in Dorchester and Bournemouth and on site at customer premises. Details of our main services please check out the 'Occupational Health Service Directory'. If you would like to discuss other bespoke services or enquire about costs please contact us on 01305 363800 or email occupational.health@nhs.net

Health Surveillance

Health surveillance programmes are a way of monitoring the health of employees who are exposed to certain hazards at work, and specifically where that hazard may lead to an identifiable health outcome such as hearing loss, dermatitis or asthma.

These programmes are part of an organisation’s overall risk management strategy and are not a first line of defence. Risk assessments for hazardous activities should identify the hazard, which employees might be harmed and identify control measures to reduce those risks as illustrated by the hierarchy of controls below. Even when all these steps have been carried out risks to the health of workers may still exist and health surveillance may be indicated. You should always seek expert advice to ensure that an appropriate assessment has been carried out.

Particular hazards, which may lead to adverse health effects (even with suitable control measures) include:

Vibration from tools and equipment, which can cause a range of debilitating upper limb and neurological conditions

Noise, which can lead to irreversible hearing loss

Chemicals particularly those, which can cause skin irritation, occupational dermatitis or occupational asthma, or are known to have toxic effects e.g. lead, beryllium, isocyanates

Many of the health conditions, which can results from such exposures are also reportable to the Health and Safety Executive under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrence (RIDDOR) regulations.

The occupational health service can assist you in determining whether health surveillance programmes are required for particular groups of employees and ensure that and health programmes introduced are risk based and cost effective.

Pre-employment Assessments

Under the Equality Act 2010, employers have a legal duty to ensure that they do not discriminate against current or prospective employees who have a disability. Employers are required to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees both prior to commencing in post and during employment. Failure to do so could leave you facing a potentially costly employment tribunal on the grounds of ‘disability discrimination’.

The Equality Act 2010 also makes it illegal for an employer to ask questions about health prior to an offer of employment, except in certain very specific circumstances.

Pre-placement health assessments can be an effective way to ensure that you comply with employment and health and safety legislation where appropriate. They can also allow you to support prospective employees who may need reasonable adjustments at work due to a disability.

Pre-placement health assessments can also assist in identifying employees who may be more susceptible to the effects of hazards at work and ensure that those employees are both fit for the proposed work and are adequately protected during their employment through participation in health surveillance programmes.

Engaging occupational health services to provide advice on your pre-placement requirements and to carry out any necessary health assessments enables you to make decisions based on competent specialist advice and ensure that you do not fall foul of data protection legislation by obtaining unnecessary health information on your employees.

We can assist you in deciding which type of assessment best meets your needs as an employer and allows you to comply with both Equality, Employment and Data protection legislation.

Referring an Employee

Management Referrals to Occupational Health

Occupational health specialists can provide you with expert advice to help you manage employees whose work may be affected by health issues.

The remit of occupational health extends beyond sickness absence management and as an employer, you may find yourself dealing with other employment issues such as performance, discipline, or safety where health issues may be a factor.

We can provide you with impartial, objective advice on a range of health and employment questions including advice on

  • Fitness for work or fitness to attend meetings and management processes
  • Adjustments or support measures to help someone return to or remain at work
  • Whether absences may be attributable to a particular health condition(s)
  • If attendance is expected to improve or deteriorate
  • Whether any work factors are contributing to ill health
  • Whether the Equality Act 2010 is likely to apply
  • If ill health retirement should be considered
  • If alternative employment should be considered on health grounds
  • If a RIDDOR reportable disease or condition has been diagnosed
  • If health issues are affecting performance or behaviour at work

Occupational health consultations for individual employees can be carried out at our premises in Dorchester and Bournemouth and following the consultation you will be provided with a comprehensive report answering the questions you have asked in your referral.

Physical Health