The primary benefit and objective of health surveillance is the detection of adverse health effects at an early stage, thereby preventing further harm. In addition, the results of health surveillance can provide a means of checking the effectiveness of control measures, providing feedback on the accuracy of the risk assessment, and identifying and protecting individuals at increased risk because of the nature of their work. It is the monitoring of the health of an employee to determine if their health has been affected in any way by the work they carry out or substances to which they are exposed as a result of work activities. Health surveillance is undertaken, according to the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) L21 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, where:
- There is identifiable disease or adverse health condition related to the work concerned.
- Valid techniques are available to detect indications of the disease or condition.
- There is reasonable likelihood that the disease or condition may occur under the particular conditions of work.
- Surveillance is likely to further the protection of the health and safety of the employees covered.
Details of the health surveillance process are described below