Understanding Occupational Health Assessments

Occupational health assessments are evaluations carried out by qualified healthcare professionals to determine an individual’s fitness for work, assess any health risks associated with their job role, and provide recommendations for ensuring their health and safety in the workplace. These assessments can be crucial in preventing work-related illnesses and injuries, as well as supporting employees with pre-existing health conditions. However, many employers may wonder whether occupational health assessments are a legal requirement.

Legal Obligations for Employers

In the UK, there is no blanket legal requirement for employers to conduct occupational health assessments for all employees. However, employers do have a general duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety, and welfare of their employees. This includes:

  1. Risk Assessments – Employers must carry out risk assessments to identify any potential hazards in the workplace and take appropriate measures to control or mitigate these risks. In some cases, an occupational health assessment may be necessary to fully evaluate the risks posed to an individual employee.
  2. Statutory Health Surveillance – For certain hazardous substances or work activities, such as working with noise, vibration, or asbestos, employers are legally required to carry out health surveillance, which may include occupational health assessments.
  3. Duty to Make Reasonable Adjustments – Under the Equality Act 2010, employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for employees with disabilities to ensure they are not disadvantaged in the workplace. An occupational health assessment can help identify an employee’s specific needs and recommend appropriate adjustments.

When Occupational Health Assessments are Recommended

While not always legally mandated, there are several situations in which occupational health assessments are strongly recommended:

  • Pre-employment Screening – Conducting occupational health assessments for new hires can help ensure they are fit for the specific demands of the role and identify any necessary accommodations or support.
  • Long-term Sickness Absence – When an employee has been absent due to illness or injury for an extended period, an occupational health assessment can help determine their fitness to return to work and recommend any necessary adjustments or phased return plans.
  • Performance or Attendance Concerns – If an employee’s performance or attendance has declined and there are concerns that health issues may be a contributing factor, an occupational health assessment can provide guidance on managing the situation and supporting the employee.

Benefits of Occupational Health Assessments

Conducting occupational health assessments offers numerous benefits for both employees and employers:

  1. Promoting Employee Health and Wellbeing – Occupational health assessments can help identify potential health risks and provide recommendations for maintaining and improving employee health and wellbeing.
  2. Reducing Absence and Improving Productivity – By identifying and addressing health concerns early, occupational health assessments can help reduce sickness absence and improve overall productivity.
  3. Demonstrating a Commitment to Health and Safety – Conducting occupational health assessments shows that an employer takes their health and safety responsibilities seriously and values the wellbeing of their employees.

Choosing an Occupational Health Provider

When considering occupational health assessments, it is essential to work with a reputable and experienced provider. London City Healthcare is a leading occupational health provider in the UK, offering a range of services, including pre-employment screenings, fitness-for-work assessments, and expert advice on managing employee health.


While occupational health assessments may not always be a strict legal requirement, they play a vital role in promoting and maintaining employee health and wellbeing. By working with a trusted occupational health provider like London City Healthcare, employers can ensure they are meeting their legal obligations and fostering a safe, healthy, and productive work environment.

For more information on occupational health assessments or to discuss your organisation’s specific needs, contact London City Healthcare on 0207 236 3334 or via our contact page.

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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