Occupational Health

What is Occupational Health?

Occupational health is concerned with how work and the working environment can affect an employee’s health and how the health of an employee may affect his/her ability to do their job. The principle role of the Occupational Health Service (OHS) is to provide advice to employees, managers and the Trust on issues relating to health at work and fitness for work.

Find more information here.

Confidential | Advisory | Impartial

To ensure your health, safety and welfare at work we provide the following services:


  • Pre-Placement Health Assessments
  • Health Screening
  • Health Surveillance
  • Immunisations & Vaccinations
  • Advice regarding Work Related Incidents
  • Staff Support
  • Management Referrals/Sickness Absence Assessments in Accordance with the Managing Absence Policy

    Management Referral Form

In certain circumstances an employee can self-refer through to the Occupational Health Service. It is worth noting however that in most circumstances it is more appropriate to request referral through to the service via the line manager – management referral. If an individual is having difficulty performing the duties of their post due to an underlying health condition or they believe that their current role is impacting on their health in some way, then having their manager’s involvement is vital in assisting in the resolution of the problem.

If an employee still wishes to self-refer through to the OH service because of stress either work or personal, then support can be provided via staff Care counselling support.

Please see FAQ’s on the OH Loop page:

Frequently asked questions (sharepoint.com)


Physiotherapy in Occupational Health

Occupational Health Physiotherapists specialise in the prevention, assessment and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions (back pain, neck pain, upper and lower limb injuries etc) that affect an employee’s ability to carry out their job.

As an employee you can access this service by having your manager complete and submit an Occupational Health referral form. After your referral is triaged you will be assigned a Physiotherapist who will provide you with the advice that you need to help reduce your pain and restore your function both at home and in the work place.

For more information contact Kimberley.anderson@belfasttrust.hscni.net

Psychological Services in Occupational Health

Psychological Services are a Clinical Psychology led team of staff working within OHS. The team is made up of staff who are trained to use psychological models and theories in order to work collaboratively with individuals and with teams. The team works alongside the other OHS staff to provide advice to employees, managers and the Trust on issues relating to health at work and fitness for work, and to promote a model of personal and team resilience and staff care within the Trust.

We can help with a range of psychological and emotional difficulties that have resulted directly from work (e.g., post-trauma symptoms following a work-related incident; work-related stress; anxiety related to sharps injuries, etc) and psychological difficulties which are impacting upon work above and beyond absenteeism.

More About This Service

Mindfulness Courses

Run by Psychological Services in Occupational Health, the Mindfulness course is an an eight-week Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy course. This course is open to any staff member of the BHSCT, regardless of whether they are attending OH Psychological Services. The course is limited to approximately 20 places, and run one to two times per year. Check out the latest news section for upcoming course dates.

Staying Safe in the Workplace

Some occupational health and safety information for you in your job:

Infection Injuries

  • Remember to wash your hands – this is the most important infection control principle
  • Ask your OH nurse about what vaccinations are required for your job
  • Use protective equipment appropriately e.g. gloves, masks, visors/goggles and aprons
  • Dispose of clinical waste safely e.g. sharp instruments in sharps boxes and soiled materials in the appropriate bag
  • Report sharps injuries to management immediately
  • Seek advice from OH if you have any health problems which may affect your fitness for work e.g. skin rashes, diarrhoea and vomiting

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all staff whose job involves contact with blood and blood stained body fluids, and where there is a risk of being bitten.

Manual Handling

Staff are required to attend manual handling training regularly. Remember the principles of good handling techniques for lifting:

  • Assess task prior to lifting and handling
  • Keep loads close to your body
  • Adopt a stable position with feet apart and knees bent
  • Ensure you have a firm grip
  • Don’t jerk, overstretch or twist during manoeuvre
  • Keep your head up when handling
  • Move smoothly
  • Don’t lift or handle more that can be easily managed

Sharps Injuries

Sharps and blood and body fluid exposures (BBFEs) include injuries with needles or other sharps medical instruments which could pierce or cut the skin. BBFEs can be associated with scratches/bites, splashes with blood or hazardous body fluids into the eyes or mucous membranes (mouth/eyes/nose) or onto broken skin (e.g rash or wound). It is really important that you reduce your risk of sustaining sharps injury and exposure to blood and body fluid.

Please ensure you are following safe practice by using safe needle systems, appropriate PPE, safe disposal of sharps and ensure your training is in date – Waste management and IPCT training. If you do sustain an injury it is essential that you follow the guidance attached.

Sharps Injury


Report the injury immediately to your manager and follow the Sharps care pathway available on the Loop:

Sharps Injuries – Information guide for managers and staff. (sharepoint.com)

Sharps care pathway (office.com)

Emergency department form for sharps injury (office.com)

Unknown source risk assessment (office.com)

Known source risk assessment (office.com)

Contact the Occupational Health Service (OHS) Sharps Line: 028 961 52255 immediately. A member of the OH nursing team will return your call.

If you sustain a high risk sharps injury out of hours (4pm-8am) or at weekends – please contact your nearest ED. Please also report the injury to the OHS Sharps Line: 028 961 52255

Skin Care

  • Prevention of skin problems is better than cure
  • Wear appropriate gloves if the job is wet in nature or when using substances that may irritate your skin
  • Apply moisturising (emollient) cream on each occasion after hands are washed and dried, at convenient times during the day and at the end of work
  • Report skin irritation or rashes to your manager immediately
  • Contact your OHS for further advice if required
  • Gel nails and acrylic nails are not suitable for most, if not all clinical areas. Please discuss this with your line manager for what is acceptable in your area.

    OH skin clinic – accepts self-referrals and management referrals:

    Occ Health – Skin Clinic (sharepoint.com)

Prevention of Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by bacteria. It can spread through close contact with people who have TB and have symptoms (active TB). TB is spread from one person to another through tiny droplets released into the air when a person with TB coughs or sneezes and somebody else breathes in these droplets. Some people have TB in their body but do not get ill or have any symptoms (latent TB). This type of TB cannot be spread to others, but it can turn into active TB in the future.

All staff are screened at pre-employment in occupational health for both active and latent TB. Staff who are at risk of exposure to TB who do not have evidence of previous BCG Vaccination will be asked to attend for Mantoux skin test and offered BCG Vaccination if appropriate.

Staff with direct clinical contact with patients who are suspected or confirmed to have TB should ensure they are wearing appropriate PPE and adhering to contact precautions and infection prevention control advice.

Staff who have been in contact with a confirmed case of TB will be followed up by occupational health when a contact tracing list has been sent by the ward manager.

All staff should be aware of and vigilant for signs and symptoms of TB, Staff have a responsibility to report signs and symptoms of TB to their Gp and Occupational health.

Staff who have been in contact with a case of TB either inside or outside of work or who have returned from country or area of high incidence have a duty to attend occupational health for screening.

Contact Details

Occupational Health Service,
McKinney House,
Musgrave Park Hospital,
BT9 7 JB

Tel: 028 9504 0401 | Fax: 028 9066 2611


All Occupational Health notes and records are CONFIDENTIAL.

They are held in a separate system from all other Trust records.