Success stories from Dr Doreen’s case book
Success stories always tell the best tale; and no more so than with occupational health. We’ve included some of Doreen’s stories here to show you what you can achieve with a little help.
Richard is in his fifties and has worked for many years as a forester. His job is a fairly risky one as it involves working at heights and using chainsaws. Richard is good at his job and finds his work rewarding. He is one of the team’s most experienced members and is highly valued within the company. After he started to experience tingling and numbness in his fingers after work, his employer called in the Health and Safety Executive.Richard then saw his GP and went off sick. The GP recommended that he saw an occupational physician.That’s when we became involvedWe examined Richard and also looked at his working environment and the equipment he was using. We diagnosed Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) arising from his long-term use of chainsaws. The Health and Safety Executive recommended that his employer changed to using low vibration chainsaws for all employees which he did to protect the health of his employees.Rehabilitation back to workThe changes in the work equipment and regular health surveillance resulted in Richard being able to return to work. He was happy because he wanted to keep on working, but had been worried about his condition. Richard was able to work for a further five years before he retired. His employer was also happy having managed to keep a valuable and experienced member of staff productive.
2). Strategic Intervention for mental health issues
Janet is a young woman in her 20’s working for a publishing firm. She has been having increasingly frequent spells of sickness absence due to her existing bipolar condition for which she’s on medication. After visiting her GP to see how she could prevent the sickness absence spells, her medication was modified but Janet continued to have periods of absence.
Janet’s employers contacted us
We saw Janet and, with her consent, spoke to her GP and consultant. We spoke to her employer to understand the nature of her work and how she related toher team colleagues.
We found that Janet was having difficulty communicating with her team mates and they in turn found her moody. They resented having to cover for her absence to meet the tight publishing deadlines. The communication difficulties Janet experienced on her return to work were compounding the problem.
Following further discussions with Janet’s GP, further changes to her medication were made and she had ongoing psychological support. As soon as her GP felt she was fit to return to work, we spoke with Janet’s HR manager and line manager to discuss how best to rehabilitate her.
It was agreed that, initially, Janet would work shorter hours and perform tasks that she could complete on her own.
A full recovery
Janet’s graded return to work did wonders for her confidence. Her mood lifted and she was able to establish a better relationship with her colleagues. Eventually, Janet returned to work full-time and was able to be a valuable and active team member again.
3). Strategic intervention for work-related stress
A large manufacturing company had a meltdown situation in their Shipping Department which employed two people, Alison and Helen.
Helen had been off sick with anxiety and had only just returned to work. Alison had remained at work but was feeling under pressure with the increased workload since she had been the only person in the Department.
Occupational health intervention
The HR director asked us to visit to discuss the problem and to see the employee who had remained at work. Whilst meeting the finance director, he explained the recent restructuring of the company into six business units which had resulted in the uncoordinated feeding of product into the central shipping department. There were also quality issues with some products which often arrived late into the shipping department causing late deliveries to the customers.
Occupational health advice
We met with both Helen and Alison and arranged for Helen to have psychological support.
In discussion with the HR director, a third person was added to the team.
The HR director and finance director agreed that the shipping department team would help the six business units by advising them on the best way to prepare their products for shipping, dealing with the quality issues, and ensuring that the products were sent to the shipping department in good time to meet customers’ delivery expectations.
The stress experienced by the two shipping department employees was the health symptom of a business problem. By finding that the root cause of the symptom was within the business, the employees became healthy again, the business issues were addressed and the customers’ confidence was restored. Altogether, a cost and reputation saving for the business from a relatively small investment in Occupational Health.
Invest with occupational health services and let us know your success stories.