What is occupational health?


Occupational health can be an unfamiliar concept. Many workers are made ill each year because of the impact their occupation has on their health. Teaching is an occupation where you will be subject to high amounts of stress, mental health issues and risk of physical injury.

Your school will most likely be partnered with an occupational health service to help assist you. The NHS explains that occupational health will give impartial, objective advice supporting both yourself and your school.

You will have access to an occupational health doctor or nurse so your workplace can be adapted to fit your needs. In addition, they will assess the extent of you condition and keep your school up-to-date with developments.

Your school can refer you to occupational health for a range of issues. These will include:

  • Medical assessments, including sickness absence management
  • Pre-employment screening and medicals
  • Face-to-face counselling services
  • Vaccination programmes
  • Telephone helplines and well-being programmes

When might my school make a referral?

Being referred to occupational health should not be something to worry about as it is supposed to be a supportive process. You should be given the opportunity to discuss any concerns you may have regarding your health and any difficulties you are facing at school that are related to this.

You can be referred for an occupational assessment where:

  • There is concern you may have work-related health problems or your health is being aggravated by school tasks
  • There are difficulties coping on return after being absent, following a serious illness or injury or due to a disability
  • There may be underlying ill health or disability contributing to performance issues
  • There is long term or frequent sickness absence

You will want to check your employment contact and your school’s staff sickness and absence policy for further details about how occupational health works at your school.

What is included in an occupational health report?

A copy of your occupational health report will normally be sent to you and your school. It can include the following information:

  • When you are likely to be fit to return to work
  • If you will be fit to complete your full role when you are able to return to work
  • If your school work has caused or contributed to your ill health
  • If your school can do anything to assist your return to work and a time frame for further review
  • The type of adjustments which can be considered to help keep you in employment

If you have any queries or concerns about your occupational health report you can contact us for further support.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.