The occupational health nurse

….Reducing the number of accidents is not just an ethical necessity. In Ireland last year, a total of 1.1 million working days were lost as a result of work-related injury and ill-health…. There is a strong business case for reducing the number of accidents since the most successful companies usually have the best accident prevention records. There are rewards for those companies willing to make an investment in safety, such as employee morale, lower employee turnover rates, lower insurance premiums, improved productivity, greater job satisfaction and a positive reputation as a ‘good place to work’. American studies show, for example, that for every dollar invested in safety and health, a company can expect a return of between four and six dollars….’ – extract of a speech given by Mr. Tom Kitt, T.D., Minister for Labour, Trade and Consumer Affairs on the occasion of the opening of The Occupational Safety and Health Research Workshop, November 2001.

Occupational Health Nurses/Advisors are the largest single group of health professionals involved in delivering health services at the workplace and have an important role to play in workplace health management. A dynamic Occupational Health Department plays a role in the prevention and management of work related injuries, which is cost effective and contributes to the profitability of the company. The aim is that work-related injuries are quickly diagnosed, treated or referred as appropriate for the injury, thus enabling the injured employee to have proper immediate and follow-up medical care.An Occupational Health Nurse should:

  • Be registered with An Bord Altranais.
  • Have a recognised Occupational Health qualification.
    • Certificate in Safety Health & Welfare at Work.
    • Diploma in Safety Health & Welfare at Work.
    • Diploma in Health and Hygiene.
    • Degree in Occupational Health Nursing.
    • BSc in Occupational Safety & Health Management.
    • BSc in Occupational Safety & Health.
    • Masters in Applied Science (Safety Health & Welfare at Work).
    • MSc in Health and Hygiene.

It is also stated in the Nursing Scope of Practice that all OHN’s and employers should strive to achieve a policy of ongoing education. Membership of the OHNAI and attendance at the bi-annual conferences contributes to this education and is recommended for all.