Health surveillance is the process of monitoring the health of employees exposed to specific health
risks during the course of their work.
Where appropriate, employers need to provide health
surveillance to demonstrate they are meeting their duty of care for their employees. The purpose of
health surveillance should be clearly explained to employees.
Health surveillance might involve examination by a doctor or trained nurse. In some cases trained
people (the ‘responsible person’) could, for example, check employees’ skin for dermatitis, or ask
questions about breathing difficulties where work involves substances known to cause asthma.
It is important that the purpose of health surveillance should be covered in the Occupational Health
Policy arrangements, making reference to the people considered to be at risk, and the form of health
surveillance to be done. It should also clearly identify how results will be fed back to employees and
managers and describe how grouped non-identifiable results will be handled. Finally, it is essential
that the policy describes the actions in the event of an employee being diagnosed with the relevant
work related illness.
Published by HSE