Lymphoedema risk assessment

I’m returning to work next week on a phased return so I’ll be part time for several weeks building up gradually. I work in a primary school as a nursery teacher so there is a lot of equipment lifting. My boss and occupational health are being helpful about my having lymphoedema although I had to give info to Occ Health as they didn’t know about how to manage it. I made the point to the Human Resource advisor that with the number of women who have surgery for BC and are at risk of developing lymphoedema I am surprised this has never come up before in the large number of employees Occ H covers. Maybe this will prompt HR to improve the service Occ Health offers.

Anyway to return to reason for my post- I am meeting my boss next week to draw up a risk assessment relating to lymphoedema. Can anyone help? I hope she will have a template to fill in as I have never done this before. I just do “risk assessments in my head” as my friend calls day to day management of keeping kids and staff team safe.
I’ve tried to list “risk” areas using info from other posts and the info leaflets on this site. I would be very grateful if anyone could add their ideas. It doesn’t matter that you don’t know my work environment as I’m trying to do a comprehensive list and will then cross off those that are not relevant.One of my problems is that I am very strongly left handed and it is in this hand that I have a problem.

Straining hand/arm- lifting/carrying heavy loads. Pushing heavy equipment. Repetitive movements, staple gun, mixing up thick/stiff stuff(wallpaper paste)

Damage to skin- scissors, needles, other tools. Bites from kids (yes really!!), insects. Lots of hand washing.

Extreme temperatures- contact with ice/snow. Cooking

Need to build up using hand gradually- writing, using laptop/interactive white board, cutting out, digging garden area.

Once the problems are identified I can work with my boss to find solutions that DON’T mean I have to keep asking someone else to do things. The other staff members willl get fed up with me and also have bad backs themselves.

Thanks in advance for any additions you come up with.

This is an interesting post. I returned to work as a teacher about the time my lymphoedema started. Since then I have also developed osteoarthritis in both wrists.
I find it very difficult to cope with my job without using my arm/wrists more than I know is wise. Only yesterday, I had to struggle with gym equipment unnecessarily because other members of staff are not putitng things away properly.
When I saw the occupational health doctor before my return there were no questions regarding side effects from my treatment. At no point was my working environment discussed or any kind of risk assessment suggested. Can anyone tell me what the legal position is and what I should do?
It certainly seems that Littlemrs is being very sensible about safeguarding her health.
I’d appreciate any advice.

I’m so sorry you’ve not had the help you need Kelley. I think you should ask to be referred back to Occ health so they can advise your school. If I’ve understood correctly this is all covered by the disability act. Your lympho therapist could supply Occ Health with info if they need it. My occ health keeps saying we are here to help you so this is their chance to act on that. Hopefully your Head T will be supportive if you outline the difficulties you are having. If not I would contact your union. I’m in the NUT and my rep (not the school one the person who works for the NUT at county level) has been fab. he came with me to my meeting with HR and was very helpful in a way that didn’t get the Head T’s back up. I have made the point to my Head T that it isn’t fair on me to have the responsibility of delegating lifting etc to other staff. I hope that when we do this risk assessment the solutions will involve a delegated person(s) such as the caretaker to help, although he is off sick with a bad back at present!

I’m beginning to feel my rottweiler mode coming on as my Mum calls it. I’m thinking about getting in touch with my occ heath service and politely pointing out inadequecies in training of their advisors. Apart from at the marsden and obviously the therapists i’ve been lucky enough to see I haven’t met any one in the medical proffession who has a good understanmding of the condition and risks for those who have had surgery for breast cancer.
Must go, off to art therapy. great fun


One of the BCC ladies has posted this link on another lymphoedema thread… it’s to do with ‘best practice in the work place’ . May be worth a look for this scenario, too.



Thanks for the link. I’ve saved it to email to work.

Bumping this for Freda