Employers should ensure they use the findings of their risk assessments to help them determine the type of assessment required.
As there are multiple types of occupational health assessment, we can’t cover all of them in this blog, so we have tried to cover as much as we can here.
Some of the most common types of occupational health assessments are as mentioned below –
1. Pre-employment assessments
2.Fitness for work assessments
3. Return to work and sickness absence management
4. Health surveillance and medical surveillance
5. Other types of assessments
Let’s have a brief of each type of occupational health assessment –
1. Pre-employment assessment –
A pre-employment assessment is also known as pre-placement health assessments, screening or checks.
Once an employee accepts an offer of employment, pre-employment is carried out by a professional occupational healthcare provider before the employee starts their job.
There are some roles that will require an assessment to be completed before a job is offered because of the area of the work, risks and the fitness standards e.g. train drivers and heavy good vehicle drivers.
Pre-employment assessment consists of questionnaires and medical examinations. A questionnaire helps in determining if there is any problem and if further assistance is needed. If the questionnaire finds any issues that require further investigation, the employee may need to undergo a medical examination.
The purpose of the pre-employment assessment is to establish baseline health records for comparisons, assessing how the job may affect employees’ health, ensuring medical fitness of the employees and reasonable adjustments for a better working environment.
2. Fitness for work assessment –
Fitness for work assessment/examinations is also known as fit for role health checks.
The main difference between pre-employment and fitness for work assessment is that the latter one is carried out on a regular basis to assess the working life of employees.
Particular roles like commercial pilots, train drivers, and heavy goods vehicle drivers need fitness for work assessment as a legal requirement to continue working in the role.
As the name suggests, the purpose of this type of assessment is to determine if an employee is medically fit to perform their task effectively and safely.
Fitness for work assessments are required when an employee has a physical condition that may –
➢ Prevent or hinder them from performing the job effectively,
➢ Make specific tasks and work environments unsafe for them and others,
➢ Could be made worse by the job activity
➢ Pose a risk to others in the community.
Some of the roles require a higher degree of physical and mental capacity, and thus it needs fitness for work assessment. Some of the examples of such roles can be described as below –
➢ Work at height
➢ Confined workspace
➢ Work in extreme weather and temperature conditions
➢ Driving operations
➢ Lone working
➢ Driving class 2 vehicles or heavy good vehicles
➢ Piloting commercial aircraft
➢ Crane operation
➢ Forklift truck operation
➢ Night shift work
Fitness for work assessment is used for determining if an employee’s existing health condition could affect their performance and safety.
Moreover, it is also to check if an employee is fit to return to work following a prolonged period of sickness absence.
3. Return to work and sickness absence management –
Return to work and sickness absence management can also tie with fitness for work assessments.
The primary purpose of this assessment is to help an employer understand the nature of the absence. To make adjustments if required, so the employee and employer can ensure the job is carried out effectively and safely, while addressing any issues that may result in further sickness absences.
Return to work and sickness absence management is an important assessment as it assists employees in getting back to the workplace while having the support that they need to carry out their role.
4. Health and medical surveillance –
Health and medical surveillance covers multiple types of checks and monitors employees’ health if they are exposed to health risks such as –
➢ Noise or vibration
➢ Ionizing radiation
➢ Hazardous substances like solvents, fumes, dust, and biological agents.
Health surveillance checks can help detect ill health effects in the early stages, followed by control measures to prevent them from worsening.
The requirement of health surveillance depends on the findings of the employer’s risk assessment.
If health risks remain significant even after the implementation of control measures, health surveillance is more likely to be required. Health surveillance checks can help employees understand the risks they may be prone to and they can highlight to the employer any symptoms they may have.
Health surveillance assessment includes –
➢ Lung function tests (spirometry)
➢ Hearing tests (audiometry)
➢ Skin checks
➢ Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) checks
Medical surveillance is different from health surveillance as it has to be carried out by a relevant doctor.
5. Other types of assessments –
Other than occupational health assessments discussed above, there are also some types of assessment that covers health and risks such as –
➢ Mental health and stress management,
➢ Display screen equipment (DSE) and ergonomic workstation assessments,
➢ Musculoskeletal assessments,
➢ Visual and eye tests,
➢ Workplace wellbeing checks,
➢ Health and lifestyle checks.
Millions of workers in the UK suffer from ill health due to their occupations. Employers are responsible for the health of their employees as employees are valuable assets for any business.
An occupational health assessment is a way of ensuring that employees are fulfilling their obligations to their employees by minimizing the risks to their health.
It is advisable for employers to choose a competent occupational health provider and make sure that assessments are carried out aligning with the latest laws and regulations of health and safety standards.
Whether you are a big business or a small one, we have bespoke solutions for your health and safety.
Occupational Health & Services Environmental, we make sure that you have an appropriate assessment for your business and premises. To get a noise survey and noise assessment for your business premises, you can simply fill in a contact us form, and one of our experts will be in touch with you soon.