Q & A surveillance

Advice for employers on Health Surveillance for Hand-arm Vibration

Feedback from the Health Surveillance Q&A session

How can employers get a better health surveillance service?


Increased communication and co-operation between employers and Occupational Health Service Providers (OHSP) would be beneficial. The latter to be invited to visit the workplace.


What can HSE, the Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM) and suppliers do to help?

  • Many want to see action taken against poor health surveillance providers - HSE is aware of the problem and is responding accordingly
  • HSE to communicate what a good (OHSP) looks like; employers need guidance on how to choose a suitable OHSP for Hand-arm Vibration (HAV) health surveillance. HSE or FOM could do more to help employers check on who is suitably qualified to conduct HAV clinical assessment and diagnosis.
  • More HSE events on HAV at a more local level would be helpful.
  • There was a suggestion that suppliers of tools/equipment could advise that where there is significant risk, health surveillance should be provided.

How should providers sell health surveillance packages?

  • Health surveillance for HAV should not be 'sold' as a stand-alone screening package as this misleads the employer. The essential requirement for referral must be included and it should be explained that referral only applies where further assessment is necessary ie not for every worker under health surveillance.
  • OHSP (and others eg FOM and the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health), can help by raising the profile of the OHSP services that are available and beneficial as part of the more appropriate health surveillance package. Risk assessment and risk management are essential; health surveillance is not meant to be an isolated activity.

What would motivate employers to provide good quality health surveillance?


Employers would probably pay careful attention to the need for quality health surveillance if they were aware of the potential cost of HAV-related claims in the civil courts.

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