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STEP 2: Referral Process

After you have surveyed your workers, the questionnaires can be scored to assess risk and then individuals provided with the results and recommendations for next steps. The information should be communicated in confidence as soon as possible, once the survey has been completed, with clear guidelines on how to acquire additional help.

There are a number of possible models for the referral and diagnosis process, and employees should be informed of which method will be used before taking the survey. The simplest method is to provide the results of the survey to each worker in a format to take to their doctor. This approach is likely to have relatively low impact, however.

A more proactive approach would be to form a relationship with a clinical sleep laboratory and assist your employees with arranging appointments to attend the clinic. Management of this process by a third party can help to maintain confidentiality.

Health insurance and access to clinics may be an issue and, if this is the case, it may be possible for the company to help with costs, given the long-term return on the investment of reducing workplace sleepiness. Companies could also support home care companies or appoint in-house occupational health doctors to conduct a formal diagnosis.

If you need to call in an expert to help screen your workers for sleep disorders, the Australian Sleep and Alertness Consortium (focused on the themes of sleep, health and wellbeing, and performance across three integrated research programs: Occupational, Healthcare, and Road Safety) can help point you in the right direction.