So what is the brief of the audit: OHS or OH?
Company policy & managers: Input
OHS policy & its professionals: Output from OHS
Company policy & manager: Outcome for company and its workforce
Can you think of a few topics in occupational health which would lbenefit from systematic audit of their quality?
Make a note of them.
The following are some ideas (but
you should have thought of others too). They may not all be appropriate
to you or your workplace but they should be amenable to criteria against
which observed practice can be quantitatively assessed:-
List a couple.
Then read on for examples.
Consider as a further example, the
issue of industrial audiometry, as part of a hearing conservation and monitoring
programme. Clearly it is important to help assure quality by establishing
management systems for calling employees to undertake their audiometry,
for regularly calibrating the audiometer, for recording and storing the
audiograms, for recalling the employees after an interval, and so on.
But... good professional occupational
health practice requires much more than that: the workplace needs to be
assessed by suitable and sufficient noise surveys, appropriate advice must
be given regarding reduction of noise at source, personal protection etc.
Moreover the appropriate employees who need Health Surveillance must be
clearly identified. If impeccable audiometry and systems management is
applied to a poorly selected subset of employees (while others at equal
or greater risk are overlooked) or if inadequate steps are taken to reduce
exposure at source and/or implement personal protection, then sadly good
occupational health standards have not been achieved.
There are several others. can you
think of any?.
What tools would you need to implement the above?
Staff time is the biggest resource
needed to implement audit and quality improvement. Therefore careful planning
and establishing of priorities is essential.
Increasing availability of computer
facilities in occupational health services should assist considerably in
the development of quantitative and ongoing methods of audit of process
and of outcome. The data must be collected accurately, simply and prospectively.
It must be retrievable for the purposes of the audit but otherwise securely
kept. Strategic objectives and hence specific targets can be agreed upon
and used as standards against which to audit observed practice, which is
then analysed statistically.
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