Occupational Health: its role in absence management Defining the role of the occupational health adviser

When considering whether to bring Occupational Health in to a business it is important to realise that the OH Practitioner is an independent, objective specialist whose role is to provide impartial advice to both management and employee, advising and assessing what is the best for both with regard to a person's health and their work. As Dr John Cooper wrote 'OH is a sort of “medical bridge” between the employer and its business needs, and the employee and their state of health'.This description should ensure that managers and HR as well as employees are clear on what to expect when it comes to reading an OH report in response to a Management referral. 

The OH Practitioner also needs to bear the role description in mind when producing a report for management following referral. Too often HR and management complain that OH reports take the side of the employee. This can be due to an OH professional not realising that they need to be impartial but also to HR and managers producing poor quality referral forms where no information is provided or questions asked.A management report is only as good as the information provided at referral.