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In certain industries or job roles, ensuring employees’ health, safety and wellbeing are vital as a compromise to this can pose a significant risk to others. For those working in potentially dangerous or hazardous situations, safety critical medicals should be a frequent occurrence to ensure operations are safe, compliant and staff are well looked after.

What is a safety critical medical?

Also known as a fit for work medical or fit for task medical, a safety critical medical is a health assessment that ensures that employees who undertake high-risk activities at work are fully fit and healthy to work safely.

For workers who conduct safety critical tasks, such as drivers, forklift operators, night workers, loners and those who work at heights or in confined spaces, there can be a high risk associated with their work. As a result, when ill health or injury could compromise their abilities to work safely in these high-risk conditions, a safety critical medical can be a legal requirement.

What happens in a safety critical medical?

A safety critical medical is an in-depth assessment to ensure that workers in high-risk roles are safe to undertake their work and will not jeopardise the health and welfare of others.

A fit for work or safety critical medical will start with a general questionnaire to provide a basic assessment of the individual’s current situation.

Then, a specialist will undertake a range of assessments such as a hearing, vision and respiratory check, a drug and alcohol assessment, as well as physical examinations such as a musculoskeletal assessment and blood pressure checks.

Depending on the specific role, the nature of the activities and the health of the individuals, these tests will be tailored to ensure the individual’s health and reduce the risk for the organisation. For example, there may be a requirement for skin surveillance or hand-arm vibration checks, depending on the industry and work activity.

Do employees need safety critical medicals?

Not all employees need safety critical medicals. However, if workers are exposed to dangerous or hazardous situations on a regular basis, then it is a requirement for workers to be assessed on their fitness to work. As well as being a legal requirement for some industries and roles, safety critical medicals are seen as best practice in the industry to put employee welfare first.

These medicals can help to detect any work-related issues that may be causing ill health or wellbeing concerns. From this, organisations can put in place any necessary improvement measures and show commitment to employee wellbeing and safe working methods.

Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind how frequently fitness to work medicals are needed. These medicals should be considered if there has been a specific ill health or injury that could compromise the health and safety of operations. However, for those in high-risk, dangerous or hazardous roles, these assessments should take place every three years for those aged 54 and under, every two years for those between 55-65 and every year for those aged over 65.

Latus Health can provide safety critical medicals and PTS medicals for your organisation, whether for a one-off event such as onboarding or as regular medicals for your team. To find out more about how we can help with our responsive service, get in touch today. We promise to return results within seven days of the assessment, or you’ll have the assessment for free.