Occ health: History taking


One must be clear to distinguish between an occupational history and an occupational workplace history

The purpose of collecting an occupational workplace history is to determine which exposure the employee had in the past which could explain their current health status. It takes into consideration the different chemical, physical, mental, ergonomic hazards the employee was exposed to prior to their current occupation. Exposure to hazards in the distant past can lead to disease after many years e.g. occupational cancer

The purpose of an occupational history is to evaluate the relationship between the employee’s health and their current job. The occupational risk profile (ORP) is an indispensable part of the occupational history as it describes the profile an employee should have in order to perform a specific job and be able to cope with the hazards in the workplace

– Why are you seeing me?
– What is your job title?
– What job do you do?
– Is this your usual work (the one that you were given on entering the company) or is this an accommodated position?
– What are the specific tasks do you do and how often do you perform them?
– To which hazards are you exposed to during the performance of your job?
– Who is your line manager/s?
– Do you have any hobbies, and do you do any part-time work?
– Who is your doctor / specialist and at which hospital is he/ she seeing you?
– What is your diagnosis, according to your doctor?
– What treatment are you taking currently?
– Have you ever registered an occupational disease?
– Did you ever report an Injury-on-duty (IOD)?
– Do you wear your personal protective clothing (PPE)?
– Do any of your colleagues suffer from the same affliction?

The administering of the occupational safety questionnaire generally does not fall within the scope of practice of the occupational health practitioner but there is frequently crucial information in such documentation concerning the cause of the affliction and the hazards the employee was exposed to.