As an employer in the UK, ensuring the health, safety, and wellbeing of your employees is not only a legal obligation but also a key factor in maintaining a productive and thriving workplace. Occupational health assessments play a crucial role in achieving this goal by helping you to identify and manage health risks, support employees with health conditions, and promote a culture of wellness. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the different types of occupational health assessments, their benefits, and how to effectively implement them in your organisation.

Types of Occupational Health Assessments

Pre-employment Health Assessments

Pre-employment health assessments are conducted before an individual starts working for your organisation. These assessments aim to ensure that the candidate is fit for the role they have been offered and to identify any health conditions that may require adjustments or support in the workplace. Pre-employment assessments typically involve a health questionnaire and, depending on the nature of the role, may also include physical examinations, medical tests, or drug and alcohol screenings.

Periodic Health Surveillance

Periodic health surveillance involves regular health checks for employees who are exposed to specific health risks in their role, such as noise, vibration, or hazardous substances. The frequency and type of surveillance will depend on the specific risks identified in your risk assessment. Examples of health surveillance include hearing tests for employees exposed to loud noise, lung function tests for those working with respiratory hazards, and skin checks for employees handling irritants or allergens.

Fitness for Work Assessments

Fitness for work assessments are used to determine an employee’s ability to carry out their role safely and effectively, particularly after a period of sickness absence or when a health condition has been identified. These assessments may involve a review of medical records, a discussion with the employee about their health and any challenges they face, and, if necessary, a physical examination or functional capacity evaluation. The aim is to identify any adjustments or support that may be needed to help the employee perform their role and maintain their health and wellbeing.

Return to Work Assessments

Return to work assessments are a specific type of fitness for work assessment that focuses on supporting an employee in returning to work after a period of sickness absence. These assessments involve a discussion with the employee to identify any ongoing health concerns, necessary adjustments to their work environment or duties, and a plan for a phased return or gradual increase in hours and responsibilities. The goal is to ensure a safe and sustainable return to work that promotes the employee’s ongoing health and wellbeing.

Benefits of Occupational Health Assessments

Compliance with Legal Obligations

As an employer in the UK, you have a legal duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety, and welfare of your employees. Occupational health assessments help you to fulfil this duty by identifying and managing health risks, ensuring employees are fit for their roles, and providing necessary adjustments and support.

Reduced Absenteeism and Turnover

By proactively managing employee health and wellbeing, occupational health assessments can help to reduce sickness absence and staff turnover. Early identification and intervention for health issues can prevent them from escalating and leading to long-term absence. Supporting employees to manage their health conditions and return to work safely can improve job satisfaction and retention.

Increased Productivity and Morale

Employees who feel supported and valued are more likely to be engaged, motivated, and productive at work. Occupational health assessments demonstrate your commitment to employee wellbeing and can foster a positive workplace culture. By providing adjustments and support to help employees manage their health, you can enable them to perform at their best and contribute fully to your organisation’s success.

Improved Risk Management

Occupational health assessments provide valuable data and insights into the health risks present in your workplace. This information can help you to develop targeted interventions, refine your health and safety policies, and allocate resources effectively. By taking a proactive and data-driven approach to risk management, you can create a safer and healthier work environment for all your employees.

Implementing Occupational Health Assessments

Choosing an Occupational Health Provider

To implement effective occupational health assessments, it is essential to partner with a reputable and experienced occupational health provider. Look for a provider that offers a comprehensive range of services, has qualified and accredited professionals, and can tailor their approach to your organisation’s specific needs. Consider factors such as their track record, client testimonials, and the quality of their customer service and communication.

Developing a Clear Policy and Procedure

To ensure a consistent and fair approach to occupational health assessments, develop a clear policy and procedure that outlines the types of assessments you will conduct, the circumstances in which they will be used, and the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders. Communicate this policy to all employees and provide training for managers on how to identify and refer employees for assessments.

Ensuring Confidentiality and Data Protection

Occupational health assessments involve sensitive personal and medical information, so it is crucial to have robust confidentiality and data protection measures in place. Ensure that all assessments are conducted in a private and secure environment, that records are stored securely and only accessed by authorised personnel, and that you comply with relevant data protection legislation, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Acting on Assessment Outcomes

The value of occupational health assessments lies in the actions you take based on their outcomes. Work closely with your occupational health provider to interpret assessment results and develop appropriate interventions and support plans. This may involve implementing adjustments to the employee’s work environment or duties, providing training or equipment, or referring the employee for further medical treatment or support services.


Occupational health assessments are a vital tool for promoting employee health, safety, and wellbeing in the workplace. By understanding the different types of assessments available, their benefits, and how to implement them effectively, you can create a proactive and supportive approach to employee health management.

Partnering with a trusted occupational health provider, such as London City Healthcare, can provide you with the expertise, resources, and guidance you need to conduct high-quality assessments and act on their outcomes. With their support, you can fulfil your legal obligations, reduce absenteeism and turnover, increase productivity and morale, and demonstrate your commitment to creating a healthy and thriving workplace.

This article has been written by London City Healthcare, a leading occupational health provider in the UK. We offer a comprehensive range of occupational health assessments, including pre-employment health screenings, periodic health surveillance, fitness for work assessments, and return to work support. Our team of highly qualified and experienced professionals is dedicated to helping employers promote employee health, safety, and wellbeing in the workplace. To learn more about our services and how we can support your organisation, please contact us on 0207 236 3334.

Dr Amun Kalia

Dr Amun Kalia

Dr. Kalia helps to run the Occupational Medicine provision for London City healthcare and is a company doctor for one of the largest multinational companies based in the UK.

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