Fitness to Work
It is important to ensure that all employees, including applicants and temporary workers, are fit to do their job effectively and without risk to their own health and safety or that of others.Where there is a concern about an employees fitness for work, the employer should respond in accordance with Employment, Health and Safety, Product Safety and Equality legislation, investigating the facts and managing those concerns appropriately.
Duties undertaken on behalf of some employers require employees to meet a specific health standard prior to commencement of the duties. The higher fitness for work standards may be identified by national standards such as the:
- Medical Standards for Fitness to Drive (DVLA – updated 6 monthly);
- Foods Handlers Fitness to Work (Department of Health 1995);
- Safe Working with Lift Trucks (HSG 6);
- Constructing Better Health; or
- through risk assessment e.g. working at heights, in confined spaces.
Peritus Health Management recommends that an employee’s fitness to work should be assessed:
- Following sickness absence
- Prior to safety critical work
- Regularly for specific duties (e.g. LGV / Lift Truck driving; where health screening is required)
- Where health problems are identified
Fitness to work assessments need to comply with the Equality Act 2010 (EA) which places a responsibility on employers to ensure that they are not discriminating against disabled employees, or job applicants because of their disability; and to make reasonable adjustments to the working environment to enable the employees / applicants to undertake the duties for which they are employed / applying. Employees whose injury or poor health persists may become eligible for EA protection.