Sometimes, the nuances of what we say or fail to say carry weight in our daily interactions. This is especially true when speaking with occupational health professionals in the UK. They aim to safeguard workplace well-being and ensure employees can work safely and efficiently.

So, how can employees best communicate with occupational health departments, and more specifically, what should they avoid saying?

Understanding Occupational Health

First, let’s establish what occupational health in the UK encompasses. Occupational health services focus on the following:

  • Preventing work-related illnesses and injuries.
  • Ensuring that work environments are safe and conducive to physical and mental health.
  • Assisting employees in returning to work after an illness or injury.
  • Mistakes in communication

Clear and honest communication is essential. However, certain phrases and mindsets can impede the process:

“It’s just a minor issue.”

Why avoid it? Minimising or dismissing symptoms or concerns can prevent the occupational health professional from fully understanding the situation. This can delay necessary interventions or adjustments.

“I don’t need any adjustments.”

Why avoid it? You must be open to suggestions even if you believe you can manage without adjustments. Occupational health professionals might identify potential long-term risks or benefits you should be aware of.

“My colleague had the same issue, and they…”

Why avoid it? Each individual’s health condition and needs can differ vastly, even if symptoms seem similar. Avoid comparing your situation to others. Focus on your unique circumstances.

“I heard that…”

Why avoid it? Relying on hearsay can cloud your understanding. It’s always best to approach these conversations with a fresh perspective and let professionals provide guidance based on your specific situation.

Golden Rules for Communication with Occupational Health

To foster productive dialogue:

  • Be Honest: Always provide accurate information about your health. It’s in your best interest.
  • Ask Questions: If you’re unsure about something, seek clarity.
  • Be Open-minded: Embrace suggestions and recommendations, even if they differ from what you expected.

Why Proper Communication Matters

The importance of communicating effectively with occupational health professionals must be addressed. Here’s why:

  • Employee Well-being: The main goal is to ensure your safety and well-being in the workplace. Miscommunication can delay or hinder necessary interventions.
  • Legal Implications: Inaccurate information can result in non-compliance with legal standards and lead to unnecessary legal disputes.
  • Company Productivity: Efficient communication helps ensure employees receive the required support promptly, reducing downtime and bolstering overall company productivity.

Conclusion

Navigating conversations with occupational health can seem daunting. But remember, these professionals are there to help. At London City Healthcare, we advocate for clear, open, and honest communication. It’s a collective effort to ensure a safe, efficient, and harmonious workplace for all.

Remember to stay informed and continue engaging with our blogs and resources. Through shared knowledge, we foster a culture of mutual respect and understanding.

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Dr Amun Kalia

Dr Amun Kalia

Dr. Kalia helps to run the Occupational Medicine provision for London City healthcare and is a company doctor for one of the largest multinational companies based in the UK.

Outstanding Occupational Health