Guidance for employers: do I need to introduce health surveillance for my workforce – and if so how do I go about organising this?

HSE has just recently launched its new strategy, with a particular emphasis on health: Helping Great Britain work well.  This is available online at  An element of this strategy is the need for employers to be alert to risks to health, and for health surveillance to be in place when this is required.  

Employers will know of the requirements placed on them within the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.  Those in the manufacturing and construction sectors especially will be aware of specific legislation such as the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005, the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002.  Depending on the industry, legislation relating to asbestos, lead and ionising radiation may also apply.

Common to all these regulations and their associated approved codes of practice is the need for risk assessment, and where risks are identified to the health of the workforce, to introduce health surveillance.  In some cases health surveillance is compulsory; HSE provides a useful decision making guide.  

However, not all employers may be aware of specific duties in protecting the health and safety of their employees.  In my experience this can be the case where the majority of the workforce are not significantly exposed to major physical or chemical hazards.  Health surveillance is a programme of health checks targeted on those identified as being at risk through risk assessment, and following consideration of control measures.  

Having identified a potential need for health surveillance, and having consulted the HSE guidance, we can advise managers, and also arrange for an assessment visit to your premises should this be helpful, by contacting us via the form on our website or by email to