While there was a time when the health and safety of an employee was largely their own responsibility, that is no longer the case. An act introduced in 1993 and applicable industry-wide was intended by the South African government as a means to prevent work-related illnesses and injuries. In effect, the act placed the onus upon employers to provide and maintain a workplace that, as far as possible, is safe and poses no risk to the health of their workers. In parallel, the training of specialists in occupational-health services was intended to provide the experts required to judge and monitor their success.
In fact, the process is a two-part one and begins with identifying workplace hazards, evaluating their potential risk, identifying who is at risk, and implementing preventative measures. Often referred to as industrial-hygiene specialists, those responsible undertake technical tasks and differ from those qualified to provide occupational-health services. In practice, the responsibility of the latter group is to investigate the health of a company’s workers rather than the quality of the environment in which they are required to work.
The core role of these specialists is to conduct medical examinations of a company’s employees. For the outcome of these medicals to have legal standing, the doctors, nurses, and other qualified healthcare professionals who conduct them must have undergone additional specialised training and gained a recognised qualification in the field of occupational health required to offer the necessary services.
These examinations have one of four possible goals. The purpose of some is to check for any possible ill-effects that could be attributed to conditions in the workplace. In other cases, the purpose can be to determine whether the health and physical abilities of a prospective employee are compatible with the demands of the tasks they will be required to perform as defined in their job description. Similar criteria are applied to medicals for employees wishing to return to work after an illness or injury. Finally, in the event that an employee should claim industrial compensation, success or failure could hinge on the findings of an occupational health services professional. Given the incidence of fraudulent claims, it is in the interest of employers as well as their staff to pursue this form of medical assistance.
Playing a prominent role in this important field, FITMed24 conducts a comprehensive range of workplace medicals on behalf of employers and workers in South Africa. Though offered nationwide and largely conducted on site by teams operating from a mobile facility, the various medicals that form part of FITMed24’s occupational-health services are also offered at one of its well-equipped clinics.
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