Jersey’s dedicated occupational health provider, WorkHealth has formed a strategic alliance with the Channel Island’s employment and health and safety specialists Law At Work.
Law At Work (LAW) helps clients in various employment relations matters and over the last few years, has seen frequent queries raised about mental health, wellbeing, and managing sickness absence. This includes employers’ concerns about dealing with ill health and disability and making reasonable adjustments in line with the Discrimination (Jersey) Law 2013.
Kelly Flageul (shown in main picture), Managing Director of LAW, told Channel Eye: “From our extensive customer dealings, we find that many employers in Jersey do not have a company doctor on standby who understands their business model, their specific workplace, and the health needs of their staff.
“When employees are ill, employers have generally relied on GP medical reports, which can sometimes take a while to come through and are not work-focussed. Indeed, some reports come back recommending occupational health assessment as some GPs are not qualified to provide this.
“While the employers are waiting for advice on fitness for work and reasonable adjustments, the employee often remains off work. It has long been recognised that the longer someone stays off work, the harder it is for them to rehabilitate and return into the workplace. Our relationship with WorkHealth will now offer our clients rapid access to dedicated Occupational Health support and provides a new way to optimise employee health and wellbeing.”
WorkHealth was founded last year by experienced local doctor, Dr Chris Edmond, to improve employee health and manage occupational health needs at work. Dr Edmond has experience in managing work-related health issues in the island, having been appointed in 2016 by the Minister for Social Security to carry out assessments for incapacity benefits and income support. Dr Edmond also provided clinical leadership to the team distributing Personal Protective Equipment during the pandemic in 2020 and continues to run clinics in the Cardiology Department at Jersey General Hospital.
As a result of this alliance, WorkHealth and LAW will be able to provide pre-employment medicals, health surveillance checks for employees who work in hazardous settings (such as those involving exposure to noise, vibration, fumes or hazardous substances) and reports on fitness to work and ill-health retirement. That is in addition to specialist advice on employment such as disability discrimination, employee relations, sickness absence management and health and safety including Covid-secure workplaces. A dedicated Occupational Health service also gives employers the opportunity to improve the health of their employees, by detecting early signs of ill-health and allowing employees to raise concerns about how work affects their health.
Dr Chris Edmond, Founder and Medical Director of WorkHealth, said: “The need for a dedicated Occupational Health service in Jersey has long been clear in my clinical work, and there are many benefits to the individual employee, to business and to the island as a whole in maximising employee health and wellbeing. By working in partnership with businesses on preventative strategies and programmes, health problems are either avoided altogether or identified at a much earlier stage.
“When illness or injury does strike then early specialist input will result in the correct work-focussed treatment and workplace adjustments. This results in less time lost to sickness absence or presenteeism, making business more productive and employees happier and healthier. Through our alliance with LAW, we hope to work with employers to meet both their legal responsibilities for people’s health and safety at work, as well as to help drive business productivity by ensuring that employee health has an equal standing alongside environmental, social and ethical concerns.”