In recent decades, occupational medicine services has come to be treated as a stand-alone medical discipline as experts have realized that injuries and illnesses caused by an individual’s working conditions often require specialized care and treatment.
There are several factors that an employer should consider when selecting an occupational medicine practice to serve employees.
One obvious feature that every business client should look for in an occupational medical provider is a professional, competent team trained to provide a range of occupational medical services. Occupational medicine is becoming increasingly specialized and professionals offering care in this field should be up-to-date on the most current treatment practices and technologies. Knowledge of governmental regulations regarding occupational medicine services and occupational safety, as well as familiarity with private and public insurance systems, is also important. Use of urgent care or multi-specialty practices has proven NOT to be ideal in producing efficient outcomes.
Reasons for Care
Before choosing a medical practice, an employer should examine the reasons that the company uses occupational medicine. Some employers only require certain services, such as pre-employment and on-the-job drug testing, while other companies employ people to work in dangerous conditions that frequently lead to workplace injuries. Employers whose workers are exposed to hazardous chemicals require a medical practitioner equipped to provide comprehensive physical examinations and extensive laboratory analysis of blood, hair and other tissues. Some employers require a range of occupational medical services, making it important for these employers to find an occupational medicine practice that offers many different services under one roof.
Convenient Locations and Operating Hours
Finding an occupational medicine provider near a company’s place of business makes receiving medical care convenient for both the employer and the employee. Every minute an employee spends waiting in a doctor’s office is time away from work or time not spent recuperating at home. Practices that accept walk-in patients as well as appointments also add convenience because being injured on the job cannot be predicted. Quality occupational medicine practices will offer 24-hour access via phone to provide medical advice in the event a work injury occurs outside of the normal nine-to-five workday.
In addition to providing pre-employment health services and care for injured workers, occupational medicine specialists may also be available to also consult with human resources personnel and workplace safety coordinators to enhance overall workplace safety and promote worker health. Health and wellness fairs may also be offered to larger employers to promote general employee health and provide services such as flu shots and other immunizations.
For many employers, establishing a working relationship with a local occupational medicine practitioner is the best way to provide convenient, high-quality care to employees. Taking the time to find the right care provider can ensure that employees remain happy with their employer and enjoy good health even in the most challenging work environments.
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For as long as work existed, the health of workers has been a primary goal of employers throughout the world.
It has always been known that healthy workers are the most productive, and firms have focused on optimizing their employment conditions to maximize the health of their workers and to lower their exposure to any liability as a result of health damages that may have occurred on site. The dawn of the modern era has made working conditions a primary concern for employees, as regulations have imposed high fines for companies that neglect these legal rulings. For workers, this has been beneficial, as a focus on healthcare and industrial medicine has increased the overall working conditions and individual health throughout all industries.
Benefits of Industrial Medicine
Industrial medicine evolved as a branch-off from the Industrial Revolution, as the impact of employee health became a significant influence of the bottom line of corporations. Low employee health became a drain on business expenses, as it would cause significant employee turnover and absenteeism. This, combined with the increased regulatory pressures by governments to ensure the safety of their workers, motivated employers to improve conditions. The spread of insurance liability for companies also influenced working conditions, as employers who could maintain low levels of injury among their employees would have significantly lower costs.
As such, industrial medicine is a branch of clinical medicine that is primarily focused on occupational health. This branch specializes in ensuring high standards of safety and health for employees through the use of preventative medicine and management of already existing diseases. Furthermore, properly maintained work environments have demonstrated that if employees are healthy, they are much less likely to injure themselves and other employees, as well as prevent errors on the job that could cost the company. Essentially, the work of industrial medicine is to ensure that the working environment does not damage the health of the individual and to ensure that all employees work at the maximum capacity possible under their health.
Role in Policy Making
Industrial medicine continues to be highly influential in regulation and law creation involving the workforce, as the specialized knowledge of this branch ensures that any government action does not undermine employee health. In the long run, it is in the best interest of all parties involved to maintain a healthy work environment, as the links between working conditions and health care premiums become intertwined. Employers that are able to ensure the health of their workers will face less drain on their health insurance plans in comparison to other companies, which serves as a competitive advantage in a cutthroat marketplace.
Ultimately, industrial medicine has proven vastly beneficial to workers, as it has increased working conditions and individual health throughout major industries in the United States and other developing countries. By following industry regulations that seek to improve safety and health standards, industries are able to save money and lower employment turnover. This benefits employers, as lower turnover allows employers to retain higher skilled employees without the need for retraining staff. Industrial medicine has improved business productivity and has reformed business protocols in such a way as to maximize employee health. By benefiting both parties, employees have garnered great advantages through the advent of industrial medicine.
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Employers have a specific process in place that is used by the HR department in order to conduct interviews and hire employees.
The HR department is responsible for vetting prospective employees to make sure that they meet the established standards of the business and share its overall vision. While there are certain standards that are easier to judge, like a person’s experience and personality, there are other items that can be a tad more difficult to discern. For this reason, employers will look to have the prospective employee undergo pre-employment drug testing as a means of ensuring the right person is being hired. Many business owners might be apprehensive about engaging in such techniques, but there are numerous tangible benefits. This piece will focus on these benefits and illustrate why pre-employment drug testing should be a requirement.
Indicator of Employee’s Habits
Every business’s goal, to make money, can be hampered by hiring an employee who is not meeting the established standards and is bringing the entire team down. For this reason, employers use pre-employment drug testing as a means of assessing an employee’s drug use over a certain time. It can shed light on matters many employers can overlook during the regular interviewing process. It is generally used as the final check mark prior to hiring the employee and working towards bettering the business. While interviewers may be uncomfortable asking questions about a prospective employee’s drug habits, to which interviewees can always give untruthful answers, drug testing is a scientific, less uncomfortable method of finding the answers.
Pre-employment drug testing can help prevent misconduct in the workplace before it ever has a chance to arise. Removing individuals who are participating in illicit activities helps ensure that the workplace is a safe and secure environment for all hired employees.
Businesses that rely on their employees to ensure the safety of their customers should strongly consider pre-employment drug testing. There is no room for error when employees are handling safety-sensitive transportation vehicles or equipment, and people with a drug or alcohol problem are much more likely to get in a motor accident or file a workers’ compensation claim. Screening for such issues before hiring is the easiest and most cost-effective way to avoid problems related to drug use down the line.
A Requirement for Working With the Government
The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 requires some Federal contractors and all Federal grantees to agree that they will provide a drug-free workplace in order to be eligible to receive a grant or a contract from a Federal agency. This means that any employer who hopes to work with the US Government has an obligation to ensure that drugs and alcohol are not being consumed by employees at any time, neither at work nor in their private lives, to the best of their ability. One of the best ways to ensure compliance with the Act is pre-employment drug testing for all employees.
Drive Down Costs
Drug users are much more likely to be absent from work, slowing production and dragging down profit for the company. Additionally, businesses will often provide healthcare benefits for employees as a means to boost productivity and loyalty, as well as to comply with changing government health care regulations. Drug users are more likely to require medical attention and to be absent from work as a result, which can be a serious drain on resources for the business that is both providing the healthcare and dependent upon the employee’s services.
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