What does health surveillance involve?

It involves systematically watching out for early signs of work-related ill health for workers exposed to certain risks. It includes:

  • skin checks – carried out by an occupational health nurse or other qualified person looking for skin damage and other signs of dermatitis on the hands that can result from using certain chemicals. These include isocyanates (used in two-pack paints and some glues), cement, solvents, cleaning agents or preservatives such as formaldehyde;
  • technical checks, such as hearing tests (see our Noise and Hearing section for more information) or lung functions tests;
  • taking a blood test, e.g. for blood lead levels; and
  • giving a urine sample, e.g. to monitor isocyanates absorbed into the body.

Because its aim is to identify work-related ill health or injury, health surveillance is not the same as a normal health check-up with your GP.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.