Health Surveillance

News on 23 May 2019

What exactly is health surveillance?

When we say ‘health surveillance’ we don’t mean that 007 is going to follow your employees around checking up on them and making sure they are well enough to come to work. What we actually mean is that there will be a risk assessment carried out for employees, and from this assessment you can monitor or implement controls to reduce risks to them.

When do I need to use health surveillance?

It’s really important for certain employees to have risk assessments carried out and ongoing health checks. If any of your employees are exposed to the following, then you should be carrying out health surveillance for them: 

  • Noise;
  • Vibration;
  • Ionising radiation;
  • Solvents, fumes, dusts;
  • Biological agents and other substances hazardous to health; and
  • Work in compressed air.

How do I make sure my employees are safe?


So, you’ve seen the list of things you need to watch out for when it comes to employee safety, but how do you know if these things are actually having an impact on them? There are assessments that can be carried out for each one. Have a look at the list


  • Noise (audiometry);
  • Vibration (questionnaires and physical examination);
  • Ionising radiation (medical surveillance);
  • Solvents, fumes, dusts (lung function testing – spirometry);
  • Biological agents and other substances hazardous to health, and;
  • Work in compressed air (medical examination and fitness testing).


A risk assessment of work activities can identify whether health surveillance is a requirement and, this can be used to monitor how well the implemented controls are at controlling risk within the workplace.

Of course, there are other benefits of implementing pro-active health surveillance, including:

  • Early detection of ill-health effects;
  • Provide input to review of risk assessment for health risks;
  • Offers employees the opportunity to provide feedback about work may be affecting their health;
  • Delivers information on whether safeguards and controls are working effectively, and;
  • Offers an opportunity for further education of employees on the measure they need to use to protect themselves, e.g. proper use and maintenance of personal protective equipment PPE).


Bear in mind that health surveillance is legally required but should not be confused with:

  • Activities to monitor health;
  • Health promotion activities within the workplace and “well-person checks”;
  • Fitness to work examinations for specific jobs such as diving, forklift truck driving or the operation of cranes, and;
  • Health assessments for night shift workers.

If any of these topics are of concern to your organisation or you would like to discuss how we can help, please contact us -  03300 414 636