Occupational health study day – skin health and hearing conservation

Highlights and Q&As

In June 2019, we hosted our third free occupational health study day for occupational health (OH) practitioners in Birmingham on skin health and hearing conservation in the workplace.

It was a very successful event and we’ve created a highlight video to show you.


We also received some very good questions on the day. Here are some of the key ones with answers from the speakers…

Q: Clare Forshaw made a statement that age-related hearing loss is noise-related hearing loss – please would you signpost the research that underpins that statement?

A: Clare would like to clarify that her point was to say that hearing loss needn’t be inevitable – much of age-related deterioration can be protected and subsequently prevented by reduced exposure to noise in our lifetime. Here is one useful reference to support this: ‘Sensory Aging: Hearing‘ by M K Pichora-Fuller and E MacDonald.

Q: I’ve recently discovered that where generations have developed significant hearing loss, they are being offered genetic testing. Are you able to comment on this?

A: Clare is not sure of the practicality or cost of a genetic test for noise induced hearing loss (NIHL), but this article on hear-it.org may be of interest.

Q: Do your views about the value of the conversation around health surveillance impact on the benefits or otherwise of utilising OH technicians?

A: We believe any opportunity to discuss health in a one to one is beneficial and OH technicians play a role in this.

Q: If 20% of people have skin problems at any time, is it usually the same people or do people drift in and out of this group?

A: Some of this 20% will be the same people who unfortunately have a long-term skin problem. Others will drift in and out of having a problem. There are some that may only ever have one skin problem and of course others that never have a skin problem.

Q: If we use factor 50 sun cream and still get a tan, is that damage to the skin?

A: A tan is the response of the skin to the impact that UV can have on the skin and underlying tissues. A tan obtained through UVB exposure results in an increase in melanin, the pigment that protects from UV damage, as a result of the increase in potential damage from UV.

Q: Should occupational health be more robust in guiding employers in what they need rather than what they think they want?

A: OH should be able to provide high quality expert advice to all its stakeholders to guide them on what they need to do to meet their legal responsibilities and manage their health hazards and risks effectively. There should be a process where a Health Needs Assessment (HNA), that’s underpinned by the current evidence base, is used to plan an effective and sustainable OH programme.

The HNA is essential in helping the employer identify and understand the key issues affecting their employees, organisational health and how modern public health issues impact on employee health. A comprehensive HNA, which provides innovative solutions to meet the ever-changing needs of an organisation, will also address the important issues of what an organisation and its people think they need.

Save your seat at our next free study day

We’ll be hosting our next occupational health study day in Manchester on Thursday 3 October, where we’ll be discussing consent and data protection in occupational health.