1620b Preventive interventions to assist workers to stay at work: workers’ health surveillance (whs) as example

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WHS is a preventive periodical strategy to monitor the work-relevant aspects of health in specific groups of workers. The idea is that occupational health professionals could signal individual problems that could lead to a decrease in work ability, and intervene timely on those aspects. In the Netherlands, specific guidelines exist for occupational physicians on this topic. Examples will be provided to give more insight in the relevance and effects of this strategy.


For four specific jobs (doctors, nurses, construction workers, ambulance workers), job-specific WHS was developed and implemented in research and/or practice. The prevalence of signalled problems and workers’ experiences with the WHS were researched, calculated and will be reported upon in detail.


The WHS for hospital doctors was developed, feasibility was tested and the doctors were satisfied with the process, would participate again and had the impression the WHS could improve their future work ability. In nurses, two strategies of WHS were studied in an RCT and effects on work-functioning was tested: the WHS performed by occupational physicians was cost-effective on work-functioning compared to an e-WHS. In construction workers, a controlled study compared a job-specific WHS with the classic form and it was shown that workers more often undertook action or sought for specific after the job-specific WHS. The WHS for ambulance workers was implemented on a national level and high prevalence of job-specific health problems were found.


The positive and negative experiences with job-specific WHS as preventive strategy will be shown.

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