AbstractThis thesis has been concerned with obtaining evidence to explore the proposition that the provision of occupational health services as arranged at the present time represents
a misallocation of resources.
The research has been undertaken within the occupational health service of a large Midlands food factory. As the research progressed it became evident that questions were being raised about the nature and scope of occupational health as well as the contribution, in combating danger at work, that occupational health services can make to the health and safety team.
These questions have been scrutinized in depth, as they are clearly important, and a resolution of the problem of the definition of occupational health has been proposed. I have taken the approach of attempting to identify specific objectives or benefits of occupational health activities so that it is possible to assess how far these objectives are being
I have looked at three aspects of occupational health; audiometry, physiotherapy and pre-employment medical examinations as these activities embody crucial concepts which are common to all activities in an occupational health programme. A three category classification of occupational health activities is proposed such that the three activities
provide examples within each category. These are called personnel therapy, personnel input screening and personnel throughput screening.
I conclude that I have not shown audiometry to be cost-effective. My observations of the physiotherapy service lead me to support the suggestion that there is a decline in sickness absence rates due to physiotherapy in industry.
With pre-employment medical examinations I have shown that the service is product safety oriented and that benefits are extremely difficult to identify. In regard to the three services studied, in the one factory investigated, and because of the immeasurability of certain activities, I find support for the proposition that the mix of occupational health services as provided at the present time
represents a misallocation of resources.
|Date of Award||Jan 1979|