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Appointed Doctor eBulletin July 2013

Welcome to the sixth edition of the eBulletin for Appointed Doctors. It contains items on radiosensitivity, workplace visits, completing FODMS38AB forms on self-employed workers, recording information on MS21 forms for self-employed workers, Appointed Doctor training and informing HSE of changes to contact details.

Report on radiosensitivity

The Health Protection Agency’s Independent Advisory Group on Ionising Radiation (the HPA is now part of Public Health England) has produced a report on 'Human Radiosensitivity', published in March 2013. It reviews evidence for variation in human radiosensitivity from epidemiological, clinical and experimental studies. Therefore, it will be of interest to those Appointed Doctors who conduct statutory medical examinations under the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999.

According to the Advisory Group, evidence suggests that the risk of developing cancer or tissue damage after exposure to ionising radiation varies because of genetic and lifestyle factors. In particular, there is strong evidence that smoking substantially increases the risk of developing lung cancer after exposure to ionising radiation. This may have implications for advice given to smokers who undergo radiotherapy, work with ionising radiation or are accidentally exposed.

Workplace visits

The eBulletin issued in October 2012 contained an item on workplace visits. It noted that in order to fulfil your duties as an Appointed Doctor, you are required to commit time to visiting the workplace to familiarise yourself with the activities to which the regulations apply, the conditions in the workplace and the workers under medical surveillance. Therefore, you should visit the workplace before undertaking any medical surveillance and then periodically, particularly where there is a likelihood of identifying a health risk, where the company has introduced new processes or changes to the premises that affect the work undertaken, or where there is a need to investigate adverse trends in the results of medical surveillance.

Since issuing the advice above, we have had an enquiry about workplace visits in relation to peripatetic workers. In taking on a new company with peripatetic workers, the Appointed Doctor should at least have detailed discussions with the employer and workers about the work and working conditions, and make observations where possible. It would not be feasible to make routine observations of peripatetic workers. However, you should be prepared to conduct a visit, for example, if required as part of an investigation of adverse trends in the results of medical surveillance.

For any new company requiring medical surveillance, the Appointed Doctor should take reasonable steps to ensure they are familiar with their work processes and working conditions. They should not rely solely on previous experience of similar work at other companies as work processes and working conditions may vary between companies.

Completing FODMS38AB forms on self-employed workers

The last edition of the Appointed Doctor eBulletin (February 2013) contained an item on completing FODMS38AB forms when conducting statutory medical examinations on self-employed workers. In such cases, where Part 1 of the form requests the name of the company, ‘Self-employed’ should be entered. Where it asks for the address of the workplace to which the appointment relates, either the home address of the worker or the address of their agency (if they obtain work via an agency), should be entered. In Part 2 of the form, you need to indicate the type of work performed by the self-employed person.

HSE will return incomplete forms to the originator and this may delay processing the request.

Recording information on MS21 forms for self-employed workers

If you have conducted a number of statutory medical examinations on self-employed workers, you should record them on the MS21 form when the annual return is due. You can do this by writing 'Self-employed' under the column headed 'Name and address of company' and entering the number of examinations accordingly. There is no need to list self-employed workers individually.

Training for Appointed Doctors

Training for Appointed Doctors on the Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002 and Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 is available from certain training providers. While not mandatory, some Appointed Doctors have already completed an appropriate course. Those Appointed Doctors wishing to take up this opportunity may find a suitable course via the internet.

Informing HSE of changes to contact details

Recently, a few stakeholders have complained to HSE that the list of Appointed Doctors provided on HSE’s website is out of date. To ensure we provide accurate information to employers seeking an Appointed Doctor, it is important you let us know immediately if your contact details change. You can do this by e-mailing any amendments to appointed.doctor@hse.gov.uk.

Updated: 2013-07-15