Pre-employment Fitness for Work Assessments

Pre-employment Fitness for Work Assessments


Pre-employment health assessments are undertaken to ensure that an applicant is fit to perform the tasks for which they are intended, effectively and without risk to their own or to others’ health and safety.

It is important to make an assessment based on the individual’s abilities and the requirements of the job, giving consideration to Health and Safety risks, Food Safety standards and the requirements of the Equality Act.

This assessment has to be undertaken following the offer of employment as been made (subject to satisfactory health clearance) to comply with the Equality Act.

Adjustments to the environment, equipment or duties, may enable an individual to undertake the duties more effectively, and funding may be available for equipment required from Access to Work if an application is made by the employee within 6 weeks of commencing work.

Who should be medically assessed?

Anyone commencing duties which may be affected by their pre-existing health/ medical conditions or which could affect health.

Anyone commencing duties which have specific fitness to work standards.

Is it a legal requirement?

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 provides the framework for health and safety management in the UK. Section 2.1 makes the provision that it is the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires all employers to complete a risk assessment and on the basis of the assessment, and to make suitable arrangements to ensure the health and safety of their employees and those in connection with its workplace activities.

The Equality Act 2010 (EA) 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.
There are specific legislation and Codes of Practice which require pre-employment screening for certain professions. These include:
Teachers and those coming into regular contact with young persons under the age of 19

What does medical assessment entail?

There is generally a tiered approach to pre-employment health assessment:

Paperscreen – an applicant completes a pre-employment health declaration form. This is assessed by an Occupational Health Adviser who determines whether:

Occupational Health Adviser Assessment – the applicant is seen by an Occupational Health Adviser to discuss the content of the declaration form. The nature of enquiry will be around the applicant’s health, the proposed work and any applicable medical standards. The Occupational Health Adviser will consider:

Further information – the Occupational Health Adviser may request further information or clarification of an applicant’s health from a treating health care professional e.g. General Practitioner or Specialist. This request will be done through the applicant in accordance with the Access to Medical Reports Act.

Want to find out more?

For more information about our pre-employment health services, contact us.


Published date: 19th February 2018

Last revision: 23rd July 2019

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