Occupational health and accidents
Occupational health cooperation and supporting work capacity
Changes in work capacity - Alasivu
Occupational health cooperation refers to systematic and goal-oriented cooperation between the employer, employees or their representatives and the occupational health care provider in accordance with agreed procedures. The goal is to find measures that promote the work; working conditions; and the health, work capacity and functional capacity of the employees and to ensure active communication. Occupational health cooperation is part of preventive activities in the workplace with the aim of identifying and addressing any shortcomings at an early stage.
Cooperation between the workplace and occupational health care
Cooperation between the workplace and occupational health care service is initiated when the employer organises occupational health care services for the employees. Occupational health care needs are identified and verified in cooperation with the workplace through workplace surveys and health examinations, for example. As active cooperation requires regular dialogue on how to achieve and evaluate common goals and a clear division of work, for example when preparing an occupational health care action plan.
An occupational health care negotiation is one form of occupational health cooperation. Negotiations between the employer, employee and occupational health care professionals includes discussing and evaluating issues such as
- an employee’s work capacity in relation to the work
- returning to work after a long sick leave
- adjusting work to match to work capacity
- possibilities of alternative work
Adjustments in work may concern issues such as working hours and/or duties. Adjustments in work aim to support the employee when returning to duties that match their work capacity after sick leave or supporting the employee in continuing to work despite their illness without risking their health. It is the employer’s responsibility to identify the tasks that match the employee’s work capacity. Occupational health care professionals evaluate the employee’s work capacity and obstacles to returning to work and ensure that working will not harm the employee’s health.
Health examinations performed in work that presents a special risk of illness are also performed through occupational health cooperation between the employer, employee and the occupational health care professionals.
Occupational health cooperation also includes
- sickness absence notification practices between the employer and the occupational health care service
- assessments of work capacity performed by the occupational health care service to issue a statement on the employee’s work capacity and possibilities for continuing work
- early support practices.
Supporting work capacity
Supporting work ability is the employer’s statutory obligation and a part of statutory occupational health care services. It requires close cooperation, agreed practices and a clear division of work between the employer and the occupational health care service.
The employer and the occupational health care service jointly prepare a written description of procedures for work capacity management, monitoring and early support. The employer is required to monitor the work capacity of employees and, if their work capacity is compromised, take action according to the agreed model together with the occupational health care service. Procedures and practices for promoting work capacity are proactive functions that stem from the needs of the workplace and are continued throughout an employee’s career.
The purpose of early support is to promote an employee’s work capacity and thereby to prevent disability. Procedures or a model for early support must be agreed upon and discussed at the workplace between employer and employees or their representative.
Early support is provided in cooperation with the occupational health care service. It is crucial to identify the need for support and to provide it sufficiently early. Clear guidelines and forms provide a helpful tool for addressing issues such as work capacity.