What is an occupational health assessment?

22 Oct 2018

An occupational health assessment or fit for work test is a check to make sure that you are capable of undertaking the tasks required for the job. Depending on the type of work, the test will involve a different level of thoroughness and examinations.

What happens at an occupational health assessment?

All assessments are different and, as stated above, will rely upon the type of work that the employee will be undertaking. A typical assessment will involve a questionnaire that will be assessed by a nurse and then it is possible that an appointment will be arranged with an Occupational Health Specialist Practitioner or an Occupational Health Physician, if the results need further investigation.

After this, an outcome report will be produced, and clearance given for the proposed role or recommendations for reasonable workplace adjustments will be sent to the employer, with the consent of the employee.

If the employee then needs occupational immunisations, vaccinations, medical assessments or health surveillance, recommendations for this will be made.

Further medical examinations could include Respiratory Assessments, Hand/Arm Vibration Assessment, Night Workers Medical Assessment, Permit to Work Assessment, Lifestyle and Wellbeing Assessment, Driver’s Medical Assessment and many others that can be recommended based upon the company’s requirements and activities. If you need more information on these services, you can click on the links or navigate to these and other relevant pages in our menu.

When do you have an occupational health assessment?

Before starting the job, an employee will have an assessment to check that they are fit to undertake the work. At regular intervals additional tests may be required to check that they are still fit for the job and that there have been no negative effects of the job on their health. These periodic assessments are also useful for managers to devise any additional safety measures that are needed, as a result of the testing. After an incident, illness or injury, testing may be required to make sure that the employee is still fit to do the job and return to the workplace. This will then establish what conditions the employee is allowed to work under, such as reduced hours for the initial period or extra breaks. Exposure to toxins will also be an occasion when you will need to have an assessment.

Is an occupational health assessment a legal requirement?

Whether or not it is a legal requirement relies heavily on the type of work undertaken. If you or your employees will be exposed to toxins, fumes or other substances that are harmful to health, hand vibrations, noise, compressed air working conditions, or ionising radiation, then you need to complete an occupational health assessment and install any helpful safety measures.

Who decides if you need a workplace assessment?

If your workplace activities match those mentioned above, you will be sent for an assessment as part of the induction or ongoing monitoring process. If there is no process in place and you do not meet those requirements but feel that the situation requires an assessment, you can talk to your manager (if you are an employee) to request that it is added to the policy or see what resources are already in place. If there is an issue such as recurring short-term absence, long-term sickness absence, concern over an employee’s health, fitness to work concern, an ill-health retirement possibility or an investigation needed into a work-related illness or injury, a manager can send the employee for a referral.

If you need more advice on occupational health assessments or work medicals, get in touch today and we can discuss your needs.