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  • Writer's pictureIt’s Complicated

Occupational health

When you start a job you are required to fill in a occupational health form. The form is quite basic just to check if you require an assessment with the occupational health therapist. It is important you fill the form in honestly. You can always do another form if something comes up later.

If you're fit to work without any adjustments or support needed, the form is all you have to complete. If you have conditions that will impact your work and need extra support and reasonable adjustments, a phone call will be arranged with a OH therapist and they will decide if you need any further assessments or if stating your needs in a report will be enough. Companies would have a timeframe in which all of this needs to be done. You may be working whilst your assessment is being completed which is why it's very important you have open and honest conversations about your needs with your manager.

My entire OH process took some time. I started the job in November 2022. The form had to be chased twice and I had 2 phone calls with the OH therapist to sort the initial screening due to a mix up. I finally had the assessment phone call in March 2023. They work in quite a fast paced manner so I found it a little difficult to keep up, but the therapist was nice and even though she didn't understand my conditions, she gave really good recommendations. After the call a report was sent to my line manager, HR and me - please make sure you get a copy of the report!

Then, I had a discussion with my manager just to go over what the report said so she had a better understanding of how to support me. HR organised a video assessment for me with a physiotherapist.

Prior to the meeting, I was asked to send a photo of my chair and desk so the physiotherapist had an idea of what my setup is like and if any adjustments are needed. Luckily, my chair is great as I was given it by Student Finance Disability team as part of my university reasonable adjustments. My desk was a little small according to the therapist. She advised I need something with more space so my arms can move freely which would reduce pain. Again, this wasn't at any additional cost as I just swapped my desk with my sisters as that one was a little bigger. During the assessment we discussed my conditions, how they affect me, and what my job entails and how that affects me.

I work a shift pattern but my team is mainly core hours which is incredible as it doesn't mess up my sleep too much. My jobs means I'm at my desk for roughly 7-8 hours a day staring at 2 screens and typing away. The physiotherapist advised the company provides me with a separate keyboard that is shorter to make typing more comfortable and less painful. I already had an ergonomic mouse, which was also provided by SFE DSA at university. She also recommended a foot rest, which is also a rocker, to help with circulation and swelling. After our initial meeting I had another meeting with HR to discuss this and they then placed the order for the foot rest and keyboard.

My final adjustments include:

  • No full week of 6:30am starts (it was only once every 7 weeks but was difficult for me to do 5 days in a row)

  • Extra rest breaks

  • New keyboard and foot rest

  • Change of desk


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