Simon Tibbo is the latest addition to All Health Matters team, joining as Business Development Manager at the beginning of January 2022. Here, he discusses his first impressions of occupational health and how it fits into the health & safety toolbox.
I’ve spent the last seven plus years in the Workplace Drug and Alcohol testing industry. During that time, I’ve supported a broad range of clients with their diligence to Health and Safety, their duty of care to employees and the general promotion of wellbeing. When the opportunity then arose to transfer my skills into the world of Occupational Health it seemed very much like an obvious step.
When you sit down and digest all the things that pose concerns for health or safety, you start to realise just how overwhelming this side of industry really can be.
Armed with only a little awareness of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), and even less knowledge of their Hierarchy of Control, my opening few weeks have been largely filled with swotting up. The HSE have some of the most interesting guidelines, regulations and publications specifically designed for the industries I thought I knew so well.
Many jobs carry obvious hazards, risks anyone would likely be able to identify, from driving a lorry on the road to a variety of potential dangers on a construction site. When you sit down and digest all the things that pose concerns for either health or safety, along with the recommendations for best possible management and mitigation, you start to realise just how overwhelming this side of industry really can be.
Take the driver of that lorry on the road, she or he has been competently trained and qualified, they understand the regulations of the road and the hazards of operating the vehicle. But when you factor in fatigue, possible stress or mental health issues and even posture, suddenly you have a lot more to consider. For an employer that serves as an additional layer of ‘maintenance’, if you will: a requirement to maintain the vehicle to a legal roadworthy standard but also a duty to maintain the health and wellbeing of the operator.
The same can be said for the construction site. I’m sure if you took a moment to think about the possible hazards and risks you would probably be able to list many, but would you be, if you pardon the pun, drilling down to things as specific as:
the vibrations of certain tools,
the possible exposure to chemical fumes
or environmental factors such as airborne dust and particulates?
I know I wouldn’t have.
It’s only when you start to observe this wider landscape of industrial risk that Occupational Health solutions fall into order. If you’d have asked me before Christmas what a Health Surveillance assessment was, I would most definitely have suggested it would be the monitoring of how much cheese or sweet treats I was about to consume in the name of festivity. I wouldn’t have been thinking it was a system of ongoing health checks for employees who are exposed to industrial risks, noise and vibration, ionising radiation, solvent and fumes, dusts and biological agents (to name but a few). It’s become very apparent that Health Surveillance forms a fundamental pillar of Occupational Health and, in some industries, a legal requirement.
Suffice to say, the deeper I travel into my metaphorical HSE rabbit hole, the more interesting the information becomes. This greater understanding of workplace risk, coupled with my newly embraced knowledge of Occupational Health solutions and the intricacies of their delivery, compound my decision to join this remarkable industry.
With the support of a sensational team and the ability to create bespoke Occupational Health solutions to suit a myriad of requirements, I really am very excited to be part of a company that can make a genuine difference to both employers and employees. I’m really looking forward to helping maintain the health and wellbeing of our so very valuable workforces.