“Occupational health used to be seen as boring. Now it’s a business opportunity,” Carl Laidler, director of screening programmes at healthcare and wellbeing provider Health Shield Friendly, told the recent AGM of the Association of Medical Insurers & Intermediaries (AMII).
Laidler (pictured) told the industry event in Milton Keynes: “It’s often seen as complex but it’s not. It’s a must-have for companies and especially smaller ones because the smaller the organisation, the bigger the issue if one person has a problem. Ninety per cent of all occupational health can be solved by the following four solutions.
“The employee has to be fit, must be covered by health and safety, has to be treated in compliance with equality legislation and employers should know that human resources don’t have the experience so you need others like ourselves with our free scheme – we get paid if we provide advice that works.”
Laidler listed where firms like his could help. This included whether or not a company needed an on-site nurse, night-workers, VDU worker assessments (seating and eyesight), driver assessments, maternity and working at heights.
He said: “We have to keep reminding firms employers cannot plead ignorance and that they have a duty of care. A failure could bring legal action, or at least, time off work and a grievance.”
He showed how some employee issues could be challenged but others were valid so expertise is needed.
Laidler said: “The prime question is getting back to work. We can help with capability issues especially when performance is erratic. Is medication needed? A doctor? What about equality? Support services? Or would a small change to work practice be a solution? Your HR department should worry about tribunals, not occupational health. We tell employers of the risks and the answers. You cannot ignore this. So go out and sell private medical insurance, health plans, and protection.”