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Occupational health keeps workers healthy, safe on the job

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – Staying safe on the job means often starts with making sure you can do the job.

Dr. Soni Mathew with Stormont Vail Work Care in Topeka says that’s where the field of occupational health comes in.

“It’s like having the right tool for the right job,” he said. “If we know we have the right employee for the right job, we know we can prevent a lot of injuries and illness down the line – and so that really promotes the safety and health and longevity of a person working in a certain field.”

Dr. Mathew and Stormont Vail Work Care work directly with area employers. They can visit work sites to suggest changes to the physical workspace, or companies may send employees to visit them for pre-employment screenings.

“We do certain lab tests. We may do some hearing and lung function testing to be sure you have the right personal protective equipment and needs of that service line and make sure you’re a good candidate for that,” he said.

Work Care also handles on-the-job injuries. Their office recently moved from North Topeka to a new location on SW 6th near Horne, which is also the new home for Stormont’s MidTown Express Care.

Dr. Mathew says it will allow them to expand their hours and share resources, like x-ray services.

He says the expertise of a focused occupational health practice adds a level beyond the broad focus of primary care doctors.

“Our specialty is really accustomed to making sure that we can get people back to work in a safe and healthy manner,” he said. “We know workplaces best. Since we work with employers, we know specifically what their job requirements are and, importantly, what they are able to accommodate to bring them back to work, to keep them part of that productive workforce.”

Work Care also has the added benefit of experience with all the paperwork that goes along with a work place injury, should that happen.

Both they and the MidTown express care started seeing patients in their new location, 1516 SW 6th St. in Topeka, last week.

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