Dr Maze


regular comment for managers on workplace health issues

Legal Implications for Occupational Health Professionals

Notes from one of the other lectures at the NI OH update meeting.

 Legal Implications for Occupational Health Professionals

 Siobhan Donnelly, Lawyer/Safety Consultant

 How much law to impart?

  • What should I do I am being bullied?
  • I was suspended pending investigation, where to now?
  • My arms are still sore should I still be fitting blinds?
  • I know paint fumes are escaping from booths will I get asthma?
  • Do you think I should sue?

 Your dilemma

  • Commence Bullying investigation?
  • GP if medical issues, do not enter legal boxing ring.
  • Consultant re Repetitive strain, do not fear referral
  • Fear of developing condition can be psychological damage, initiate inspection
  • See a solicitor or you could be sued!


  • OH objectives: Policy
  • Risk assessment/risk control: Planning
  • OH management programme
  • Structure training awareness competence consultation emergency
  • Checking and corrective action
  • Management review

 Customer’s perspective

  • Fitness
  • Hazards
  • Promotion
  • Exposure
  • Communication
  • Research
  • Law
  • Management

 Beart v HM Prison – applies to you

  • Wrongful demotion, depressed never returned to work
  • Illness a disability
  • Private investigator, report wrongfully refused
  • Court held evidence re relocation or redeployment would have succeeded
  • Prison: already thought so badly of Beart felt justified in not accepting medical advice!
  • OH report: unlikely to recover until employment issues resolved, suggested redeployment.
  • OH report: unlikely to recover until employment issues resolved, suggested redeployment.
  • OH blamed by Prison as no prognosis given therefore could not reasonably redeploy ongoing illness
  • Held: No attempt at reasonableness under DDA

 Stress and Bullying

  • Barber v Somerset County Council
  • Managing Stress: Why you?
  • Hartman v South Essex mental Health CC Trust
  • Who manages your stress?
  • You know I am being bullied don”t you?

 Evaluation of OH

  • More aware physical hazards
  • Advice helped with day to day workloads
  • No difference in number of symptoms reported
  • Significant number of GP visits reduced


Health and Safety awareness needed:

  • For Patient benefit
  • For Self protection

Think legal agenda

Filed under: Uncategorized

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