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FAQs: Occupational Health

How do I know if my company needs an occupational health and safety program?

By law, and where applicable, every employer is required to conduct a health and safety survey of its workplace. If the risk for toxic substance exposure or other dangers are found, occupational health and safety regulations require that a health and safety committee be established to perform a detailed audit and determine if medical surveillance programs are needed.

What occupational health and safety legislation does my company have to comply with?

It depends on whether your company is federally or provincially governed. For example, if you are provincially regulated, you must comply with occupational health and safety regulations in your province. If toxic substances are present, you are also required to comply with Health Canada’s Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) regulation.

Does my company need an occupational health and safety policy?

Yes. All companies should have a policy that reflects the company’s commitment to the health and well-being of employees in the workplace.

How do I know if my company needs to have a mandatory medical surveillance program?

If a hazardous substance (silica or asbestos, for example) is posing a risk to employees in your workplace, you must put a medical surveillance program in place to satisfy occupational health and safety rules where applicable, and to promote health and safety. We offer medical surveillance programs to meet your needs and help your company reduce unnecessary hazardous substance-related illnesses and associated costs.

What are the benefits of post-offer of employment medical examinations?

Workplace medicals performed as a condition of hiring establish your candidates’ baseline health. Ongoing medical surveillance can determine if their health deteriorates and if that deterioration is related to workplace issues. That way, intervention can start early enough to prevent health problems from becoming serious and ensure that employees are physically fit to perform the essential duties of their jobs. Identifying underlying health conditions prevent unnecessary injury/illness and reduce the risk of unnecessary and preventable workers’ compensation costs.

How do I know if my company needs a hearing conservation program?

If noise is a potential risk in your workplace, a survey should be carried out to determine which areas are considered to have dangerously high noise levels. If the thresholds (as defined under hearing loss regulations) are exceeded, a full hearing conservation program should be put in place.

What is an audiogram, and what are the benefits of a hearing conservation program?

An audiogram is a hearing test that determines what level of hearing loss an employee may have at the time of the test. Early detection is important because it enables your company to offer early intervention, including hearing health education and ensuring appropriate hearing protection is worn (if noise levels in the workplace or elsewhere are significant) to prevent further deterioration. Baseline audiograms also offer the benefit of identifying an employee’s hearing status at the time of hiring or pre-placement in order to establish whether or not underlying hearing loss exists that would not be attributable to the new employer. By conducting periodic audiograms, concerns can be identified and addressed before significant hearing loss comes into play.

What medical services can I introduce to help reduce my company's workers' compensation costs?

Physical abilities testing, hearing conservation programs, pre-placement and post-offer of employment medical exams, as well as periodic testing (even where not governed by regulation, but where potential risk exists or where the workforce is aging) can help to reduce injuries, illnesses, and workers’ compensation costs.

What is a claims/disability management program?

This program comes into play for workers’ compensation cases where the employer is held responsible, and for general disability and related absenteeism. The claims manager works with the employee, the employer, and the health care professional to help get the employee back to safe and productive work, especially those with chronic injuries. Where necessary and appropriate, an independent medical examination (IME) can be arranged. For chronic and complex cases, a claims/disability management program offers a fresh set of eyes and approach for treatment options and support that may not have been offered before, with a focus on returning to work and to a normal life based on current abilities.

What is a Modified Duty Program?

DriverCheck encourages companies to develop modified duty programs so that injured and ill workers can be re-integrated into the workplace as soon as reasonably possible. Through our services, a claims management specialist will work with you, your employee and his/her doctor to assist in the employee’s rehabilitation and return to work, even if it means temporarily taking on a different position than the one he/she was in previously.

What is a Respirator Fit Test Program, and how do I know if my company needs one?

Where airborne toxic substance levels pose a risk in your workplace (exceeding threshold limits set out in applicable regulations or guidelines) and if that excessive exposure cannot be reasonably reversed with engineering or other controls, your company must provide its employees with personal protective equipment (PPE), and that equipment must fit properly. DriverCheck uses effective respirator fit testing techniques to ensure your employees are using respirators that fit properly.