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8 dos and don’ts of pre-employment medical screening

Pre-employment medical screening is an important part of the recruitment process, helping employers to determine whether the candidate is legally entitled to work and is suitable in the job they are applying for.

The screening methods you choose will usually depend on the requirements of the position and the industry in which your business operates.

Screening may include:

Medical examinations are especially important when a certain level of physical fitness and health is required to perform a role.

However, as with any recruitment procedure, you must ensure that all candidates are treated fairly and consistently when undergoing these examinations.

Any physical tests carried out must relate strictly to the candidate’s ability to perform the duties that the job requires.

8 dos and don’ts when conducting pre-employment medical checks

  1. Do only test for things that directly relate to the requirements of the job.
  2. Don’t test for general health or medical conditions that won’t affect the person’s ability to perform the job.
  3. Do ensure that the medical practitioner who is undertaking the tests is trained in non-discriminatory pre-employment screening.
  4. Do inform the medical practitioner of the type of work and list of tasks the employee will be doing. Offer the option for them to assess the work environment and equipment that will be used by the worker.
  5. Do allow the candidate to wear glasses and/or hearing aids during the tests.
  6. Do make any necessary adjustments to accommodate the needs of a candidate with a disability.
  7. Do advise the candidate of the test outcome and ensure strict confidentiality.
  8. Do provide candidates with a clear outline of the job’s requirements before asking if they are aware of any pre-existing injury or illness that may affect their ability to perform their tasks and duties.

You may only use medical examinations to determine that a candidate is able to perform the inherent requirements of the job and will not pose a health and safety risk to themselves or others.

It is unlawful discrimination to reject a candidate based on a medical condition unless the condition affects their ability to perform their duties.

Importantly, candidates aren’t legally obligated to disclose a disability unless it’s likely to affect their job performance or ability to work safely. They can write ‘not applicable’ on a job application form if questions are asked about a disability or illness that doesn’t affect their work performance.

However, they should be instructed that a deliberate failure to disclose any injury or illness that may affect their ability to undertake the inherent duties of the role could affect any future workers’ compensation claim they may make.

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