What is a safety critical role and why do my employees need a safety critical medical?
A workplace role may be defined as being safety critical if it involves working in, on or around machinery or moving vehicles, working at height (WAH), confined space working, lone working and/or driving certain vehicles or plant operators etc.
Employees undertaking these roles are required to pass more stringent medical assessments than other employees. Safety Critical Medicals or fit for work medicals ensure they are not suffering from medical conditions or undergoing medical treatment which may cause sudden loss of consciousness or incapacity, reduced awareness, or concentration, affect their balance, coordination and/or mobility such that it may impact upon their own or others safety in the workplace.
The Safety Critical Medical includes a detailed past medical history questionnaire and questions about current health conditions, symptoms and/or treatments including:
Cardiovascular disease, chest pain, palpitations, or blood disorders
Dizziness, epilepsy, head injury, persistent headaches, or stroke
Diabetes, thyroid disease, Parkinson’s disease, or multiple sclerosis
Stress, anxiety, or depression
Allergies, current drugs or medications, illegal drug or alcohol misuse
Stomach or bowel disorders, kidney, bladder, liver, or gall bladder disease
Hernias or any other factor which may impact upon an individual’s fitness for their role
The following are also covered by safety critical medicals where required: audiometry, HAVS, musculoskeletal disorders, respiratory health, skin assessment and vision assessment.
If my employee has an underlying health condition, can they remain in work?
If diagnosed with certain conditions i.e. hypertension, diabetes or asthma, employees MUST demonstrate to the occupational health clinician that they are well controlled. Well managed cardiac, respiratory and neurological conditions etc. which are non-progressive, where an individual is on prescribed medication to manage current symptoms, have a good understanding about their condition and are under the care of their GP and/or specialist will often remain fit for work with workplace adjustments, if they can be accommodated.
However, some industries have specific standards that MUST be achieved to pass the medical relating to hearing, eyesight and/or respiratory function appropriate to the tasks undertaken within the role too. Where these are not attained then temporary restrictions may need to be put in place until further information is obtained from an occupational health nurse or physician as necessary. These follow up consultations will provide the employee and employer with necessary information about the potential impact of the stated condition on the individuals work or vice versa.
Recommend restrict from driving/safety critical work due to high blood pressure.
Recommend is restricted from undertaking lone working
The frequency of Safety Critical Medical recall periods, following an initial assessment, will vary depending upon an employee’s age, underlying conditions and/or test results. More frequent assessment may be recommended where there is any significant change in an individual’s health status or following sickness absence or to obtain further information and where necessary generate a report to the employer advising them accordingly.
How often do I need a safety critical medical?
Aged 54 and under: 3 years
Aged 55 – 64 years: 2 years
Aged 65 and over: 1 year
Safety Critical Sites
Some sites or workplaces may require all personnel who enter the site, regardless of whether their role is a safety critical role, to have passed a safety critical medical.
Confined Spaces and Flammable Atmospheres
All employees wearing hearing aids or other battery-powered medical devices i.e. insulin pumps etc. will need to check with their health and safety managers as to whether the devices are ATEX compliant and fit for use.
SEQOHS safety critical medicals
If you're looking for a safety critical medical, chances are you'll require this to be undertaken by a SEQOHS accredited occupational health provider.
Safe Effective Quality Occupational Health Services (SEQOHS) is an accreditation demonstrating that the organisation undertaking the occupational health activities have met the industry required standards, this is an accreditation that we are proud to boast at Insight Workplace Health.