MSc Occupational Hygiene / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Health and Workability

Course unit fact file
Unit code POPH68842
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


This unit provides an understanding of a range of factors when determining a person’s ability to work as well as issues around rehabilitation and return to work, including appropriate adjustment and/or redeployment.


This unit discusses the approaches used in occupational health to maximise the potential for individuals to return to work after illness or disability. Topics include evaluating workplace health promotion and analysis of aspects of workability including ergonomics, shift work and daily rhythms. 

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes intend to provide the student with the knowledge to evaluate factors which need to be considered when determining a person’s ability to work as well as describe issues around rehabilitation and return to work, including appropriate adjustment and/or redeployment.


  • Advanced Occupational Health Law
  • Workplace Health Promotion
  • Ergonomics
  • Shift Work and Daily Rhythms
  • Common Mental Health Problems and the Workplace
  • Work and the Older Employee
  • Rehabilitation and Return to Work
  • Introduction to Audit

Teaching and learning methods

Learning and teaching will take the form of online lectures, webinars, group discussion, tutorial, face to face workshops and practical experience days where relevant.  

Blackboard will be used for course materials including group discussions, announcements and updating of content, relevant lecture slides and additional reading, written example sheets and for online formative assessments.

Knowledge and understanding

On completion, students should be able to:

•       evaluate the impact of working practices (shift work and ergonomics) and workers’ demographics (the ageing workforce) on health;

•       examine the importance of the interaction between health and work (i.e. effects of work on health and health on work) and the importance of outside (family, social, cultural) influences; and

•       evaluate the role of health promotion and audit for worker health protection.

Intellectual skills

On completion, students should be able to:

•         critically discuss a range of issues and influences that affect an individual’s fitness for work and work performance; and

•         critically evaluate the importance of rehabilitation and workplace adaptations in occupational health practice.

Practical skills

On completion, students should be able to:

•         execute an assessment of the factors that effect a person’s ability to work;

•         communicate findings from an assessment of a work-related disease; and

•         use evidence based practice to develop practitioner skills.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

On completion, students should be able to:

•         communicate complex ideas in concise written format to specific audiences including managers and employers in relation to patients’ health and well-being; and

•         use logical and systematic approaches to problem solving and decision making

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Students will be able to consider a range of issues and influences that affect an individual's fitness for work and work performance.
Problem solving
Students will be able to carry out an assessment of an individuals fitness for work and provide appropriate solutions to identified issues.
Written communication
Students will know how to communicate with managers and employers in relation to patients' health and well-being.

Assessment methods

Description Weighting  Length

50 MCQ’s


40 minutes

Written Assessment


1500 words or equivalent


Feedback methods

Formative assessments with automatic feedback are available throughout the unit as an aid to understanding the course materials. Feedback for the summative assessments is provided by tutors via Blackboard. Students may also receive direct feedback from interaction with session leaders throughout the course of study.

Recommended reading

  • Agius R, Seaton A. Practical occupational medicine 2nd ed. London: Hodder Arnold 2005. ISBN 034075947X.   
  • Tar-Ching A, Gardiner K, Harrington, JM. Occupational health (Pocket Consultants) 5th ed. Wiley-Blackwell 2006.  ISBN- 10 1405122218; ISBN-13 978-1405122214.
  • Bridger RS. Introduction to Ergonomics 3rd ed. CRC Press 2008. ISBN 0849373069.
  • Kloss DM. Occupational health law 6th ed. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell 2020.  ISBN 978-1-118-93623-8.
  • Waddell G, Burton AK. Concepts of rehabilitation for the management of common health problems. London: TSO 2004. ISBN 0117033944.
  • Hobson J and Smedley J (Eds). Fitness for work: the medical aspects 6th ed. OUP 2019. ISBN 9780198808657.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Melanie Carder Unit coordinator
Anne Clayson Unit coordinator

Additional notes

If you have any questions regarding the content of this unit, please contact the Course Unit Leaders, Melanie Carder and Anne Clayson, via

If you have any other queries, please contact the Programme Admin team via

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