We are facing lots of uncertainty at the moment. We don't know when there's going to be a vaccine for COVID-19, we don't know when we'll be able to travel freely or what 'normal' will look like after the dust settles. Dealing with this uncertainty is challenging, which is why it's important to focus on what we can control and tools that can help. Taking care of your staff who are at risk of experiencing adverse effects from their work, known as health surveillance, is one such practice.
As you likely know, health surveillance should be a standard part of any organisation's workplace health and safety management. Employers are obligated to understand what risks their staff could be exposed to and work to manage those risks. This of course starts with risk assessments and implementing appropriate control measures. However, not all control measures are guaranteed to be effective or eliminate the risk and when this is the case, your organisation need to have programs in place to monitor your employee's health and well-being.
Common hazards that require health surveillance include hazardous substances, biologicals and noise. Testing that may be done to monitor your employees' health if they are exposed to these hazards includes hearing tests, lung function tests, eye tests and biological monitoring. Your health surveillance efforts shouldn't be limited to solely detecting issues early on either; you should also take preventative measures like immunisation programs and health checks.
Put into practice, health surveillance breaks down into multiple actionable components that need to be managed.
- Determine what programs need to be in place and what employees are affected
- Communicate with your employees about these programs and what they can expect
- Gain an understanding of what is happening, i.e., real-time participation updates and completion rates
- Develop a comprehensive view of how your staff is being affected by certain conditions or circumstances
- Decide on action based on how your staff is being impacted
While you could attempt to handle these with numerous spreadsheets, the potential for error or poor communication, among other problems, would be high and put your employees' health and safety at even greater risk.
Why your organisation should consider health surveillance software
The reality is you shouldn't implement and maintain your health surveillance programs manually with spreadsheets, nor should your company want to. Luckily, software like RiskWare's Health Surveillance Module has been designed to support organisations in managing their health surveillance effectively.
By investing in software, you'll be able to:
- Implement programs easily and quickly
- Notify employees when testing needs to be done
- See in real-time the participation and completion rates of your programs
- Produce automated reports and use BI tools to get a broader picture of what's happening
- Ensure your in compliance with legislation
Even if your workforce is relatively small and based in one location, organising the above and ensuring accuracy could be a major headache without a software tool.
Nothing has more recently drawn our attention to the necessity of health surveillance software than the coronavirus pandemic. Regardless of your industry, in a very short period of time, organisations have not only had to make sure their employees are safe but also have needed to get a sense of how their workforce is being impacted.
The Country Fire Authority (CFA), for example, have used RiskWare's Health Surveillance Module to monitor how their volunteers and firefighters are being affected by COVID-19 and proceeded to use a data visualisation tool to see the state of disruptions across their organisation. This has enabled them to both support those who are infected and manage resource allocation to make sure all regions are covered.
With health surveillance, your organisation can position itself to most effectively understand and manage risks to their people, even in the most most unexpected circumstances. The best to way to manage these efforts is to invest in the right tools.
If your organisation is looking to improve its workplace health and safety management, in particular health surveillance, software like RiskWare can provide the structure and support you need. Our team always has time for a conversation. Don't hesitate to get in touch!