Athens Regional Health System
706.475.7000

Occupational Health Services

Treatment and Management of Occupational Injuries

Typical occupational injury care includes the evaluation, treatment and management of the following: 

  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Lacerations
  • Low back pain
  • Minor fractures
  • Tendonitis
  • Eye Injuries
  • Other routine injuries

Medical Surveillance and Physical Examination Programs

Physical examination programs serve important preventive functions in the workplace. These programs let employers obtain baseline information on an employee prior to reporting to work, which can be used as a comparison for future examinations.

In addition, employees with medical conditions unsuitable for placement in a specific work environment can be identified. All pre-placement examinations will be done in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. OSHA also has specific medical surveillance requirements for certain occupational exposures. Typical occupational examination programs include:

  • Pre-placement, ADA compliant
  • OSHA medical surveillance
  • Fitness to work evaluations
  • Respirator clearance evaluations (OSHA requirement)
  • DOT physical exam - Our medical providers are on the national registry list according to FMCSA guidelines
  • Exposure specific examinations, including biological monitoring
  • Hearing evaluations
  • TB Evaluations
  • Forklift examinations
  • HAZMAT physicals

Occupational Illness and Disease Evaluations

Occupational diseases are often costly to both employer and employee and may mean job modifications or workplace removal. An experienced physician can identify these cases before significant morbidity and disability develops. In addition, some workers may believe they have an occupational illness, when actually other factors are responsible for their symptoms. Identifying these cases will limit an employer's workers compensation costs.

Typical occupational diseases that can be evaluated at Regional FirstCare include:

  • Cumulative trauma, repetitive motion disorders, such as carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Occupational skin disease, sometimes requiring patch testing
  • Occupational lung disease, including occupational asthma, silicosis and asbestosis
  • Chemical exposure evaluations
  • Sick building syndrome

Occupational Medicine Consultation

Because of the medical-legal environment of occupational illnesses and injuries, there is often the need for second opinions and consultation concerning occupational disease causation.

These referrals are typically made by third parties, such as insurance companies, case managers, physicians or legal counsel. By carefully evaluating such patients and rendering an unbiased opinion, the needs of both the patient and the employer can be served. Consultations performed at Regional FirstCare Occupational Health Services include:

  • Independent medical examinations
  • Occupational disease causation consultations
  • Impairment evaluations

Worksite Evaluations

In certain cases, it is beneficial for the occupational medicine physician to perform an on-site workplace evaluation. This situation may occur when an unusually high number of occupational injuries or illnesses happen in a particular area, or when there is a dispute concerning the workplace's contribution to symptoms or conditions. The worksite visit is often focused on one or more of the following factors:

  • Ergonomics affecting musculoskeletal conditions
  • Disease causation evaluations
  • Return-to-work evaluations
  • Epidemiologic investigation of areas with increased injuries or illnesses
  • May be done in conjunction with Athens Regional Medical Center's Rehabilitation Services

Drug Screening

Urine and Hair drug screenings limit the use of illicit drugs and provide a drug-free workplace. Drug screening may be performed during a pre-placement evaluation, for cause or randomly, for client companies. Regional FirstCare Occupational Health Services will perform drug screenings as needed for client companies, as well as providing the Medical Review Officer function.

Occupational Health Policy Development

In many industries, development of an occupational health policy is important for the protection of the health of the workforce. Occupational medicine physicians are naturally suited to assist in the policy development because of their unique knowledge of the interaction between workplace environments and worker health.

Examples of occupational health policies that may require occupational medicine consulting include:

  • Physical standards for high risk jobs
  • Pre-placement examination policies
  • Developing essential job function descriptions
  • Drug testing policies
  • Policies concerning pregnant workers
  • Hazardous materials handling policies

Medical Director Responsibilities

Many of our services can be provided to businesses in the role of Company Medical Director. Review of occupational medicine cases, worksite visits, advising on OSHA compliance issues, performance of ergonomic assessments, and assisting in policy development are duties often carried out by company medical directors.

Education and Training of the Workforce

Many occupational medicine specialists perform educational and training activities for client companies to help decrease injury and illness rates. Because of our affiliation with Athens Regional Health System, the education and training department of the hospital may be able to assist.

On-Site Services

Many of the above programs could be delivered on-site, if facilities are available. By having an occupational health nurse or physician going directly to the industry, employers can save on employee travel time and lost time from work.

Customized Services

Clients will be surveyed concerning the provision of specialized services that may suit their needs. Through Regional FirstCare's affiliation with Athens Regional Health System, possible additional programs include health promotion programs, travel immunization clinics and on-site nursing services.

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