3 RULE 1070: OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL The member of the technical committee shall either be a physician, engineer, chemist or nurse who has completed at least an occupational health/occupational safety and health-training course required by this Standards, and who has been an occupational health/occupational safety and health practitioner for not less than three (3) years.
4 Occupational Health Nursing The aim of occupational health care is to create a healthy and safe working environment and a functional working community, prevent work related diseases and accidents and promote working ability (FOHNEU 1995).In the Declaration on Occupational Health for All (WHO 1994) governments are encouraged to develop national policies and programmes which ensure occupational health services are available for all workers. Such services should include the education of health care professionals in occupational health.
5 Occupational Health Nursing Occupational health nursing “aims to ensure the health, safety, optimum working capacity and wellbeing of the working population (and) considers not only the individual but also the individual in his/her working environment” (Federation of Occupational Health Nurses of the European Union 1995).
6 Occupational Health Nursing Occupational health nursing is therefore primarily concerned with the health and nursing care, including health education, of all members of the workforce of a country, and specifically, in the case of an individual occupational health nurse, with the health and nursing care of workers in the work setting in which s/he is employed.
7 Occupational Health Nursing Each worker will however also have a life outside the work setting, and be a member of a family group and community and the occupational health nurse will be aware of how the individual worker’s occupation, and any injury or disease may impact on the family and how family circumstances and/or the community environment may impact on the worker’s daily work and take this into account in her nursing care and health education.
9 Occupational Health Nurse The occupational health nurse liaises with the acute hospital and primary health care services hospital services, other institutions like rehabilitation centers, making referrals where necessary either independently, where s/he is the s/he health professional in the work setting, or in collaboration with the occupational health team members.
10 Occupational Health Nurse Occupational health nurses can also make a major contribution to the sustainable development, improved competitiveness, job security and increased profitability in enterprises and communities by addressing those factors which are related to the health of the working population.
11 Occupational Health Nurse By helping to reduce ill health occupational health nurses can contribute to the increased profitability and performance of organizations and reduce health care costs.Occupational health nurses can also help to reduce the externalization of costs onto the taxpayer, by preventing disability and social exclusion, and by improving rehabilitation services at work.
12 Role of the Occupational Health Nurse in Workplace Health Management The occupational health nurse may fulfil several, often inter related and complimentary, roles in workplace health management, including:ClinicianSpecialistManagerCoordinatorAdviserHealth educatorCounsellorResearcher
13 Occupational Health Nurse Occupational health nurses are constantly learning new skills, adapting current practices to meet new needs and developing new approaches to solving problems and therefore their practice is not static but is constantly improving based upon a core range of skills
14 Occupational Health Nurse The following list is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather to give an indication of the wide range of competencies that occupational health nurses demonstrate in practice.
15 Clinician: primary prevention The occupational health nurse is skilled in primary prevention of injury or disease. The nurse may identify the need for, assess and plan interventions to, for example modify working environments, systems of work or change working practices in order to reduce the risk of hazardous exposure.
16 Clinician: primary prevention Because of the occupational health nurses close association with the workers, and knowledge and experience in the working environment, they are in a good position to identify early changes in working practices, identify workers concerns over health and safety, and by presenting these to management in an independent objective manner can be the catalyst for changes in the workplace that lead to primary prevention.
17 Emergency careThe occupational health nurse is a Registered Nurse with a great deal of clinical experience and expertise in dealing with sick or injured people.The nurse may, where such duties form part of their job, provide initial emergency care of workers injured at work prior to transfer of the injured worker to hospital or the arrival of the emergency services.
18 Emergency careIn many instances, where hazardous conditions exist at work, or where the workplace is far removed from other health care facilities, this role will form a major part of an occupational health nurse’s job.Occupational health nurses employed in mines, on oil rigs, in the desert regions or in areas where the health care systems are not yet fully developed will be familiar with a wide range of emergency care techniques and may have developed additional skills in order to fulfil this role.
19 Emergency careFor others, who are working in situations where the emergency services are on hand, they may simply provide an additional level of support beyond that provided by the industrial first aider.
20 Treatment servicesIn some countries occupational health services provide curative and treatment services to the working population, in other countries such activities are restricted.Occupational health nurse will be involved in delivering and monitoring these services, often in close contact with other primary care providers, such as the family doctor or general practitioner, or company physician, who is responsible for prescribing the particular course of treatment.
21 Nursing diagnosisOccupational health nurses are skilled in assessing client’s health care needs, establish a nursing diagnosis and formulating appropriate nursing care plans, in conjunction with the patient or client groups, to meet those needs.By using the nursing process the nurse contributes to workplace health management and by so doing helps to improve the health of the working population at the enterprise level.
22 Individual and group care plan The nurse can act on the individual, group, enterprise or community level. Where an individual health care plan is designed to meet specific objectives the occupational health nurse will, where appropriate and with the patients informed consent, liase with their primary health care provided in order to ensure a comprehensive approach is maintained.
23 General Health advice and health assessment The occupational health nurse will be able to give advice on a wide range of health issues, and particularly on their relationship to working ability, health and safety at work or where modifications to the job or working environment can be made to take account of the changing health status of employees.
24 Research and the use of evidence based practice In addition to utilizing information and knowledge produced by research in various fields to support activities that relate to the occupational health component of their role, occupational health nurses will also utilize fully research information available from many fields to help support the general health of the working population.
25 Specialist Occupational Health Nurses As has been discussed the specialist Occupational Health Nurse is a fully trained Registered Nurse who, in addition to their General nursing education and training, will have undertaken an additional period of formal study in occupational health, leading to a recognized specialist qualification in occupational health nursing, most often at University degree level