Pre-employment Health Assessments
What is a pre-employment assessment and why do you need one?
As a business owner or manager, you’ll want to ensure you have the right person to do the job as this will lead to reduced absenteeism and increased productivity.
A pre-employment assessment is usually performed as part of the recruitment process, after the interview and job offer in accordance with the Equality Act (2010) to ensure that the applicant is fit to perform the tasks for which they are employed to do effectively, and without risk to their own or others’ health and safety.
How can we help?
Occupational Health professionals can work with you to identify the most appropriate way to ensure your new starters are fit to perform their role. We can also advise you on any additional adjustments or safety measures that need to be put in place.
The Equality Act (2010) generally prohibits an organisation enquiring about an individual’s health prior to a job offer and a blanket approach of asking a full range of health questions to all individuals on a questionnaire screened by HR or the recruiting manager are difficult to justify from a data protection point of view.
The Information Commissioner’s Office states that health questionnaires should ‘only elicit information that is relevant and necessary’ and that ‘decisions on a worker’s suitability for a role are management decisions but the interpretation of medical information should be left to a suitably qualified health professional’.
What does a pre-employment assessment involve?
An assessment usually involves the completion of a confidential questionnaire, Occupational Health Services can work with you to design the most appropriate health questionnaire for your business, considering the different hazards and risks involved in each role. The questionnaire should only ask about health conditions that are relevant to the role being applied for. A telephone or video follow-up may be required depending on the results of the questionnaire.
For certain job roles, a face-to-face medical is also required to perform certain clinical tests (such as a safety-critical role or a role requiring health surveillance). At Occupational Health Services, we can provide you with an impartial report advising on fitness for work and any recommended adjustments or support that would help the employee perform their role safely.
What questions can the employer ask?
In the questionnaire, the employer can ask questions about health only if it’s necessary to establish whether or not any adjustments are required to ensure the candidates are not placed at a disadvantage. Questions can also be asked if they are necessary to ensure a candidate is medically able and safe to undertake the functions that are intrinsic to the role.