Can I refuse to see occupational health

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In this guide, we will discuss whether you can refuse an occupational health assessment. 

We will also discuss what happens when you refuse the assessment, what an occupational health assessment is, and what happens when you are referred to see occupational health. 

Can I refuse to see occupational health?

You can refuse to attend an occupational health assessment as an employee or any other meeting that is related to your health and well-being. 


While the occupational health assessment is mandated by the company that you work at to gauge your health status so as to make various company related decisions for the employees own safety and concerns, you can refuse to disclose any information should you choose to. 

This refusal will fall under your rights to protect your own beliefs, medical history,and any other personal aspects that you would like to keep private.

If you are refusing to attend a health assessment at your job you should also remember and be aware that management will then have to make any and all decisions about their future employment without any medical information.

This means that your employers won’t be able to make adjustments or changes to your work environment that you might require due to any medical or health conditions due to their lack of information. 

What happens when you refuse an occupational health assessment?

Here are a few things that might happen if you refuse to attend an occupational health assessment:

  • Your  employers will try exploring why you are refusing to attend as well as try to clear your doubts, encourage you to attend, and clarify any questions you have regarding the assessments. 
  • They will not coerce you to attend since you have the right to refuse unless it has been agreed upon in your onboarding contract. 
  • If you do not attend the assessments your employers will be entitled to make decisions about your capabilities- health wise- to perform your duties. 
  • If the contract you signed while being on board at your company mandates that you attend the health assessment, your refusal might lead to a disciplinary action such as a warning followed by further encouragement to attend. 
  • If you have been warned multiple times, while unlikely to form grounds for dismissal, your failure to give reasonable reasons for your refusal might lead to dismissal for failure to cooperate if the contract you signed mandates the assessments. 
  • After you have refused to attend and found out that it is mandated in your contract, you and your employers can agree to a limited consent where the employers are not given privy to your report for issues and conditions that are not relevant to your current role and condition. 

What is an occupational health assessment?

An occupational health assessment is an evaluation done by an external third party-an qualified medical professional- where you, as an employee, undergo a medical assessment inorder to document specific health concerns and goals for the future. 

The assessment is conducted by a nurse or a doctor that has qualification in Organizational Health by setting up the appointment at a time that is convenient for you.

The details shared during this assessment will be kept confidential unless you give them consent that is written and documented to share the report with your employers. This information when used by the employers is to be applied for improving the workplace environment for the employees and not to be used against them. 

These assessments do not discuss diagnosis and treatment plans, but if information that concerns the nurse or doctor comes up in the assessments they may suggest a referral for further treatment.

When you arrive at your appointment which can also be done over the phone, the medical professional will ask you questions to get a full picture of your overall health.

What is an Occupational Health report?

An occupational health report is a detailed overview of your current medical status and your future capacity to work in a successful manner. It focuses on your fitness to work, and does not include other performance issues unrelated to your health issues. 

These reports will contain relevant and appropriate medical information related to your job and role and might include recommendations or interventions that are necessary for your well-being at the workplace. 

The language would be easy to understand so that the HR team can have a clear understanding of your condition. 

The report should also include any limitations or disabilities that may affect your performance in full with the related medical professional opinion about your condition and how it impacts your future in the company.

The report might also include information that determines whether any medical conditions or illnesses are a result of an accident at your workplace or if it is considered a repetitive disorder.

Please note that you can refuse your employer to receive the report by withholding consent, the medical team will keep it confidential. 

After the assessment, the Occupational Health professional will usually explain what they will write about in your report and will provide you with a consent form with three options to protect your privacy.

  • the letter goes at the same time to the employer/employee. 
  • You, as an employee, decide not to see the letter.
  • You, as an employee, have the right to see the letter prior to your employer.

If option 3 is ticked the letter is typed and sent to the employee which will give them five business days to either request amendments, refuse to consent for the letter to go to the employer, and also provide other information to be added in the letter.

If you refuse to share the report, the Occupational Health Professional will have to inform your employer and there will be an internal discussion with you included about what to do next. 

What information can I expect in the report?

Based on your answers during the assessment, the healthcare professional will prepare a report. 

The report usually includes the following details but might include other additional information as well:

  • The potential impact a medical condition may have on your overall ability to attend your work-related tasks or carry out your duties  

For example, in case you have a medical condition like Depression, the assessment report will cover how your condition will impact your work related tasks and your ability to carry out your duties.

  • Likely return to work timescales in case you have taken a sick leave from work. 
  • Whether or not workplace adjustments/changes may need to be considered by the HR so that you can further discuss adjustments for your medical condition to be accommodated as you get back to work.
  • It can include details of any changes or recommendations that need to be made on your part so you can return to your work. For example, seeking professional help for anger management as a prerequisite for you to get back to work at your company. 

Conclusion

In this guide, we have discussed whether you can refuse an occupational health assessment. 

We also discussed what happens when you refuse the assessment, what an occupational health assessment is, and what happens when you are referred to see occupational health. 

References 

Denton. A. What happens if an employee won’t attend Occupational Health or consent to a report being obtained from their GP?. Refreshing Law. 14th AUgust 2014. Retrieved on 26th november 2021. 

What is an Occupational Health Assessment?. Staywelloh.co.uk. Retrieved on 26th november 2021.

Employee engagement with occupational health. OccupationalhealthConsultancy. 28th June, 2013. Retrieved on 26th november 2021. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about “Can I refuse to see Occupational health”

Is Occupational Health confidential?

The occupational health service is confidential, no information is shared or divulged to any third party, including the person’s general practitioner without getting informed consent.

Is it a legal requirement for an employer to provide occupational health?

Every employer must make sure they provide a safe work environment and must assess risk at work.

Many employers consider that they meet the legal requirements based on the fact that they have a safety policy and a health and safety officer. 

What does an occupational health check involve?

An occupational health check involves health screenings required by an employer.

This is mainly used to reduce work-related injuries.

In many cases, it can also be used to determine an employee’s ability or fitness to work. 

Why do you get referred to occupational health?

You can get referred to occupational health through a management referral, self-referral or on offer referral (new employee). 

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