Referral information

Please read the relevant subject area on our website prior to arranging an appointment. If you have any queries please call us on 020 7594 9401 or submit this short form Occupational Health Assessment Request

Health vulnerabilities assessment

Many individuals will be anxious about returning to the workplace/campus. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) requires (under Health and Safety Law) that a risk assessment is carried out, and all reasonably practicable precautions (elimination, controls, information, instruction, training, monitoring, supervision, review, etc.) are put in place to protect all workers and others who may be affected by a risk. The overriding principle is to reduce the risk of transmission to as low a level as reasonably practical.

Current legislation makes provision for the clinically extremely vulnerable (who should be enabled to work from home, or to work in a capacity which does not expose them to significantly greater risk than that of working from home, or in some circumstances be on paid special leave) and the clinically vulnerable (for whom the employer is required to consider the safest possible role in the workplace). Managers should support staff and students, and explain the measures taken to control risk.

Individual risk assessments can be carried out where appropriate. Occupational Health accept referrals from managers for employees who have concerns about their personal medical vulnerability after reviewing the risk assessment, or if assessment of medical vulnerability is required to complete the risk assessment, especially for the highest risk settings where the residual risk from COVID-19 is still significant (even after the implementation of reasonably practicable controls), for example medical settings or where employees are required to provide support and care for individuals with confirmed cases of COVID- 19 and are reliant upon PPE for protection. This referral pathway is designed for Line Managers to make referrals for assessment and to receive advice for those members from the College community who declare underlying health issues which make them clinical vulnerable and extremely vulnerable to Covid-19 infection.

There is no need for all staff (laboratory based or otherwise) to be referred to Occupational Health prior to work recommencing. Departments and line managers hold responsibly for conducting health and safety risk assessment and Occupational Health will issue advice in the presence of health issues that suggest an increase in vulnerability to Covid-19.

At the outset of the Pandemic, Public Health England provided guidance on assumptions of medical risk for broad groups of ‘extremely vulnerable’ and ‘vulnerable’ people. As researchers learn more about Covid-19, it has become clear that age has the biggest effect, with old age making individuals most vulnerable. Medical condition, sex, BMI and ethnicity play a smaller but significant role. An emerging evidence-based approach uses ‘Covid-age’ to help articulate relative risk to help understand individual vulnerability.

Occupational Health is using this approach to undertake a standardised assessment of individuals. This considers age as a starting point along with intrinsic factors (specific to each person), sex, ethnicity, BMI and medical conditions adding or decreasing the number of years to create a Covid-age, equivalent to a healthy white man of that age. Where an individual has a medical condition, it is recommended that they are referred to Occupational Health for assessment for advice on fitness to work on site and further information on mitigating their risk. If a more detailed referral or report is required, please use the Occupational Health staff referral.