What can be done if you Disagree with an occupational health report?

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In this blog we will discuss what can be done if you disagree with an occupational ehealth report. 

We will also briefly discuss what an occupational health report is and what is included in an occupational health report. 

What can be done if you Disagree with an occupational health report?

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If you disagree with an occupational health report, you can get in touch with the occupational health specialist and discuss your grievances, consult another specialist, or take the issue up with the tribunal. 

The occupational health report is created by an occupational health specialist after the occupational health assessment. 

This report is usually sent across to the employee, that is you, after the session- usually within 1-2 business days. 

The report is sent to the employee to get their feedback as well as their consent so that the report can be sent across to the employers, managers, and HR manager of the company that the employee is working at. 

There are times when the employee might disagree with the contents of the report. For example, the employee might not agree with the specialist’s comments on their fitness to work.

Another reason why an employee might not agree with the report could be because of the specialists comments on the conditions that has been mentioned to explain their medical condition that impact’s their ability to work

In the case that an employee does not agree with the contents of the report, they can take the following steps:

Speak to the Occupational health specialist

The first step that you can take is to contact the specialist and discuss your grievances. The reason why the occupational specialist has sent you a copy first is for this exact reason. 

You can discuss what you disagree about the report and what content you would like to have removed or corrected. 

Usually the employee will  be given a few days to see the report and at this time, the employee can ask for facts to be corrected. The employee has the right to disagree with what is mentioned in the report.

While the OH specialist needs to change factual  information if the employee disagrees with it and there is no factual evidence,the report should mention any differences of opinion.

In some cases, where the changes might not be based on facts, the specialist might not agree to make changes; however, they will give you clear information as to why the information must be part of your report. 

Consult another specialist

If you completely disagree with the report, you can approach the HR of your company regarding seeking consultation with another occupational health specialist. 

This might require you to go through another assessment and another assessment report.

however, it has to be mentioned that the specialist must have a clear understanding of your medical condition, your role and your workplace to give an accurate report about how your condition impact’s your ability to work. 

Take the issue to Employment Tribunal

If your attempts to correct the report have failed, which is unlikely in most cases, you can take up the case to the Employment Tribunal. 

This is usually the case when the employer has unjustly ignored the advice on the occupational health report, then what you can do is to bring up a case to the Employment Tribunal and claim for disability discrimination.

What is an Occupational health assessment report?

Following the consultation with an Occupational health specialist, a report is made that is written by the Occupational health specialist on the employee’s condition to work.

The occupational health report will include information related to the employee’s medical condition, their ability to work, their needs of accommodation and support, as well as anything that can be done to help improve their well- being like referrals to medical services etc. 

The employees have a right to see the report before anyone else and requires their consent to be sent across to their manager or employer.

Usually the employee will  be given a few days to see the report and at this time, the employee can ask for facts to be corrected. The employee has the right to disagree with what is mentioned in the report.

While the OH specialist needs to change factual  information if the employee disagrees with it and there is no factual evidence,the report should mention any differences of opinion.

The report will usually mention the condition, medical situation, and answer any questions that have been specifically brought up. 

The report is then sent to the manager as well as to the employee, HR representative and, in some cases, the employee’s GP.

The most important aspect of the report is the advice that is given to employers and managers regarding what can be done to accommodate the employee within the work space and also their condition in terms of their fitness to work.

It is based on these inputs that the manager or employer should take steps such as giving medical leave of absence, recidong work hours, providing support etc to help the employee adjust to working with their medical condition. 

What is included in the  Occupational health assessment report?

According to MedWise, an Independent Occupational Health service provider, here are the details that are included in the Occupational health assessment report:

  • The report will provide an outline of the employees health-physical and mental- status and how this current status impacts their ability to perform their role reliably, safely and effectively.
  • The report will also include information related to suggestions made by the occupational health specialist for the employer in terms of adjustments and accommodations for the workspace, the workload, and other issues related to the employees working condition. 

For example, if the employee has issues related to shoulder pain due to lack of a proper work desk, the specialist might recommend the employer to replace the work desk with something more ergonomic. 

  • If you have a medical condition, the report will also include information related to when you are likely to be fit to go back to work.
  • It will also include information that suggests modifications that can be made to working conditions which will be necessary for the employee to recover from their condition and return to work. 

For example, the specialist might recommend a phased return to work, or gradual return to work. 

  • The report will also answer any questions that have been brought up by the employers as well as the employee during assessments. Such as: How long would you expect their condition to last? Could the condition be aggravated by the workplace or their role? In your opinion, is the employee fit to continue working in their current role? What are the aspects of the role the employee is not fit to continue?
  • Information related to medical diagnosis will not be included in the report if the employee is not willing to disclose the information to the employer. 
  • In case of factual corrections, the specialist will make them if the employee has factual evidence that the information given is wrong or update information related to their condition if there is evidence of change in circumstance. 
  • The report will also include notes related to disagreements if the employee does not agree with the contents of the report but has no evidence to back their disagreement. 

What is occupational health?

Occupational health is one area of the public health domain that is concerned with the physical, mental and social well-being of workers in all occupations.

This area of public health involves promoting, advocating, and maintaining the highest degree of well-being for workers in the workplace across various occupations. 

The main role of occupational health within the workforce is to support management of health issues of employees within the workplace and are concerned with how their occupation impacts the health of the employee. 

It is important to mention that occupational health, while they are concerned about how the work or the workplace might impact on the employee, it is also focused on how the employees’ health may impact on their performance at work. 

Occupational health within the workplace provides support to employees by interpreting medical information of employees in the case that they are unwell and to present it to Managers in a way that allows for employee advocacy as well as makes rooms for accommodations to support the employee in the workplace.

The support they provide includes providing advice to both the managers and supervisors as well as the employees in areas related to:

  • How the medical condition impacts an employee’s ability to work and perform well on the job as well as the impact it has on their ability to carry out their responsibilities. 
  • Workplace adjustments and accommodations for the employees well being such as reducing work hours or workload. 
  • Time scales for the return of employees to work in the case they wish to take a medical leave of absence. 
  • Advice and referrals to Counselling and Psychological Services or any medical services. 
  • Providing employees with information related to employees fitness to return to work and  remain at their present role.

Occupational health specialists are the professionals that employees often reach out for guidance on the issues mentioned above.

Conclusion

In this blog we have discussed what can be done if you disagree with an occupational ehealth report. 

We also briefly discussed what an occupational health report is and what is included in an occupational health report. 

FAQ related to What can be done if you Disagree with an occupational health report?

Do employers have to follow occupational health recommendations?

Your manager or employer can ignore the advice and suggestions given by the Occupational Health specialist in their report since it is only suggestion and advice. 

The inputs for accommodations are not mandatory, rather it is completely up to the manager or the employer whether they want to take up the advice or not. 

Can I refuse my employer access to my medical records in the UK?

Yes you can refuse to give your employer access to my medical records however, if it is needed in the case of occupational health referrals it might benefit you that you give it to them for the OH assessment. 

What is an occupational health referral?

The occupational health referral is a process that is designed to provide advice to both employees and employers for concerns that relate to the employee’s health and their ability to do their job.

The process involves consent between employee and employer with a contractual agreement for the employee to provide such consent and to partake in a medical examination process.

References

Disagreement with an occupational health report. General Medical Council. Retrieved on 25th March 2022. https://www.gmc-uk.org/ethical-guidance/learning-materials/disagreement-with-an-occupational-health-report

The Occupational Health Assessment: a Guide for the Employee. MedWise. Retrieved on 24th March 2022. https://medwise.ie/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/the-occupational-health-assessment-a-guide-for-the-employee-converted.pdf

Booth.S. Top tips to get the best from your occupational health provider. HRZone. Retrieved on 24th March 2022. https://www.hrzone.com/engage/employees/top-tips-to-get-the-best-from-your-occupational-health-provider

Six best-practice tips on how to make an occupational health referral. Fusion Occupational Health. Retrieved on 24th March 2022. https://www.fusionoh.com/blog/how-to-make-occupational-health-referral

Occupational Health Referrals. Guide. University of Glasgow. Retrieved on 24th March 2022. https://www.gla.ac.uk/media/Media_554573_smxx.pdf

Questions to ask when you are submitting an Occupational Health Referral. FusionHR. Retrieved on 24th March 2022. https://www.fusionbusiness.org.uk/occupationalhealthreferral/

Disability. MS Solicitors. Retrieved on 24th March 2022. https://www.ms-solicitors.co.uk/employee/discrimination-in-the-workplace/disability-discrimination/faqs-disability/#15

Is an employer entitled to rely on Occupational Health advice about disability? Pure Employment Law. Retrieved on 24th March 2022. https://www.pureemploymentlaw.co.uk/is-an-employer-entitled-to-rely-on-occupational-health-advice-about-disability/

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