An Introduction to the Occupational Health Service

An Introduction to the Occupational Health Service

Background Information

The University of Oxford OHS covers the work carried out by University staff, postgraduate students, and (under contract) certain associated units and external organisations.

The OHS advise on all matters concerning the effects of work on health, and the effects of health on work. They work, to the benefit of both employer and employee, to prevent work-related ill-health by:

  1. advising on the control of potential health risks at work,
  2. detecting occupational disease at an early stage, and
  3. advising on ill-health (work-related or unrelated to work) in the workplace.

As well as its own defined role, the University OHS works jointly with other central services, to the benefit of health, safety and welfare. The OHS also liaises with GPs, hospitals and other NHS services to the benefit of individual staff and their departments.

The OHS supports the University in complying with health and safety law, employment law and forms part of the University’s risk management process.

University of Oxford OHS

The service is based at:

10 Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PD
Telephone: 01865 282676
Fax: 01865 282678

OHS staff are able to visit the University’s central Oxford sites, the JR campus, the Old Road Caampus, the South Headington campus, and certain peripheral sites in or near Oxford.

The services currently offered to the University are:

1) Screening for employment

a) Assessment of pre-employment health declaration forms, any necessary follow-up and reports
b) Review of risk assessment and health surveillance registration forms for employees exposed to any work place hazards, any necessary additional health assessment, initiating any necessary recall for health surveillance and immunisations and reports.

2) Statutory health surveillance

Health surveillance including diagnostic tests and specialist medical review, maintenance of health records, biological monitoring (e.g. in people exposed to mercury), biological effect monitoring (e.g. lung function testing for people exposed to allergens), advice to the department and individual on the review of work practices when control parameters are exceeded, and managing the recall system.

3) Referrals

a) Advice on individuals referred for occupational health advice, and provision of a written report subject to informed consent.
b) Assessments of individuals in their workplace in order to advise on modifications relevant to their medical condition
c) Travel health risk assessments and subsequent advice on immunisation requirements, anti-malarial prophylaxis and other matters relevant to fieldwork abroad and other University travel


4) Interventions and treatment

a) Immunisations appropriate for certain groups, such as medical students and laboratory workers, with relevant immunity tests
b) Immunisations and anti-malarials appropriate for travel on University business
c) Risk assessment advice following body fluid exposure e.g. needlestick injuries

5) Incidents and outbreaks

a) Advising in the response to dangerous incidents/hazardous exposures
b) Occupational illness investigation of suspected clusters of work-related ill-health

6) Hazard/risk assessment

Advising on the assessment of hazards/risks associated with work

7) Attendance at committees and other meetings

a) Occupational health input to policy by attendance at relevant central committees and departmental committees. Attendance at other agreed meetings to give advice on occupational health implications of legislation, and on other work related health matters.
b) Case-conferences to review occupational health matters relevant to individuals at managers requested

8) Statutory reporting

Initiating the statutory reporting process of certain occupational diseases to HSE. Making any necessary statutory reports of communicable disease to the relevant public health authorities.

9) Information exchange and co-ordination of services

a) Regular liaison with relevant central services to review policies, procedures and the effective co-ordination of health and safety within the University.
b) Regular liaison with the University’s academic departments as requested
c) Regular liaison with other university OHSs, OHSs in other sectors, and relevant professional and scientific bodies for the benefit of the University
d) Provision of anonymised group statistical data and reports for the maintenance and improvement of the health, safety and welfare of University staff
e) Liaison, as required, with the Health and Safety Executive, the Disability Services team and other external government agencies
f) Liaison with NHS agencies, including the public health authorities, as required

10) Policies, guidance, training and information

a) Preparation of written University policy and guidance documents specific to work related health matters
b) Provision of training sessions
c) Regular update of the OHS web pages and other information

11) Internal audit

Monitoring compliance with relevant regulations concerning the professional competence of clinical OHS staff. Management of all staff development, personnel, financial and premises matters related to the OHS.

Medical care

The OHS does not provide primary health care. All University staff and students are advised to register with a general practitioner, who acts as the gateway to NHS hospital and other specialist services.

 Reviewed on: 12th April 2016