Objectives Of Health Surveillance
The objectives of health surveillance of employees exposed to substances hazardous to health are:
- to protect their health as individuals by detecting as early as possible any adverse changes in their health which may be attributable to exposure to substances hazardous to health;
- to assess, in relation to specific work activities involving micro-organisms hazardous to health, the immunological status of employees;
- to assist in the evaluation of the measures taken to control exposure; and
- the collection, maintenance and use of data for the detection and evaluation of hazards to health.
However, as regards the last two objectives, the employer will be in breach of the assessment, prevention, control, maintenance and monitoring rules if health surveillance is relied upon as a principal measure for evaluating hazards and the effectiveness of control measures. Moreover, the employer risks industrial relations and civil liability problems by using humans as guinea pigs in evaluating hazards and control measures.
The ultimate objective of health surveillance is to take pre-emptive action to prevent or further reduce exposure before anyone is harmed.