Occupational health consultants provide a variety of health and safety services to companies and their employees. The consultants must be good at customer interaction, presentations and analysis. They help promote occupational health as defined by the World Health Organization. The definition encompasses physical, mental and social well-being of workers and preventing workers from leaving a job due to poor working conditions.
Occupational health consultants play many roles. Although it is ultimately the employer's responsibility to keep employees safe, an occupational health consultant can help with law compliance and health and safety policies. They often offer world travel advice and immunization information, as well as clinical and internal medicine services. Additionally, they may handle pre-employment physicals, drug testing or employee physical exams and vaccinations.
One main goal of occupational health consultants is promoting employee health and providing cost-effective safety assessments. Many occupational diseases of the past have been eliminated. Workplaces have come a long way as far as cleanliness and fewer dangers. Today, however, employees change jobs more often than they used to. Each new employee brings possible illness or medical conditions to a workplace.
When employees are ill or injured, occupational health consultants strive to facilitate their return without losing valuable work time. The occupational health and safety field covers all elements of a work environment that can affect employees, from occupational infections to psychosocial characteristics.
Workers may carry out job tasks involving chemicals, gases or other dangerous substances. Certain jobs, such as those in the biotechnology industry, may require employees to work in places that expose them to airborne contaminants. Occupational health consultants are qualified to assess employee risk in these situations.
Today's global business transactions require many employees to travel abroad. Occupational health consultants can provide travel advisories regarding infectious diseases and outbreaks. They can immunize business travelers, ensuring personal protection against common illnesses.
Physical aspects of a safe workplace include proper lighting, heating, cooling and ventilation, as well as safe noise levels. Poor working conditions deter efficient productive workers. Occupational health consultants are aware of laws regarding health and hazardous conditions.
Occupational health consultants may work for a corporation, an industry or a government entity. In extreme cases, local governments must sometimes handle refugees, public disease or bioterrorism preparedness. Federal governments use the consultants to help with infectious diseases, military physicals, vaccine education or bioterrorism training.