Serving Industry’s Occupational Health Requirements Through On-Site Medicals
Despite being one of the most technologically advanced societies on the African content, it is only in relatively recent times that South Africa has begun to demonstrate any serious concerns about the health and safety of its citizens in their various places of work. Although there remains much to be done, there have been two significant advances that are now helping to address this previously neglected need.
In June 1993, parliament enacted the Occupational Health and Safety Act compiled by the Department of Labour. The act defined the guidelines for the protection of workers from the hazards presented by their working environment. It also exposed the need for specially trained practitioners and a registered qualification for doctors and nurses. Given the overburdened state of public healthcare, the responsibility for conducting on-site inspections and employee medicals falls to the private sector and must be paid for by the employer.
While contributing to the medical aid premiums of employees and their dependents has become an accepted practice for most, many companies are only prepared to finance those measures that they deem as important to their profitability. In practice, however, what such companies fail to realise is that the compensation payment arising from a single avoidable accident or a debilitating work-related illness could exceed the modest cost of financing such services by several orders of magnitude. Just imagine the cost of a dozen or so injured or ill as a result of inadequate health and safety measures.
Of those who fail to seek such help, reluctance is often due to concerns that mass staff absenteeism while staff members undergo examinations could disrupt production. To allay such concerns and to eliminate the need for staff to travel long distances to a clinic, FITMed24, our Kempton Park-based company specialising in occupational health matters, now offers the option of conducting employee medicals on site.
With the aid of a fleet of mobile clinics, we are able to dispatch a team of registered OHS specialists to destinations in most of the country’s nine provinces. The objective is to meet the needs of large groups operating at high-production facilities. At each visit, selected employees are subjected to standard examinations, including BMI, blood pressure, lung function, vision and hearing tests. In addition, other tests, such as an electrocardiogram (ECG), are offered on request, along with any others that may be indicated for workers in specific occupations, such as mining, construction, aviation and food handling.
For those companies whose personnel are required to work in hazardous environments and whose employers operate a health surveillance programme, we conduct our on-site medicals according to the protocols defined. In less hazardous circumstances, however, the mobile teams will be happy to provide clients with a more generic programme of testing.
In today’s competitive global market, more employers are becoming aware that their employees are not simply expense items, but a human capital resources with the potential to ensure a company’s success. Underlining this realisation, there has been a marked increase in the number of employers that now accept the need for more stringent measures to monitor and protect the health of their workers. Don’t risk the costly consequences of a spate of work-related illnesses. Talk to us at FITMed24 about our affordable on-site medicals.
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