The aim of this study was to assess how occupational health providers view the importance of different occupational health functions compared with their customers (managers and union representatives). A postal survey was undertaken requesting that managers of medium and large companies, union representatives and occupational physicians rank in order of importance 13 listed functions of an occupational health service which have appeared in the published literature. The results were analysed and tabulated to allow comparison of the responses among the four groups. The two functions ranked as most important by all four groups were advice on the work environment and advice on medical retirement. Dental services as an occupational health service function were ranked as least important by all four groups, with provision of physiotherapy services by occupational health departments also perceived as relatively unimportant by managers of medium and large companies. A wide discrepancy of views was revealed between physicians, managers and unions over the importance of immunization for travel and work and the rehabilitation and resettlement of sick and injured workers. The physicians ranked these functions as more important than the managers or union representatives. Managers of medium-sized companies also ranked counselling in the workplace much higher than the other respondents. The study shows the dilemma that occupational health services may face in deciding what functions should be provided compared to what their customers wish to be provided.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health