Safety Critical Medical

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As an employer, you have a duty of care to prevent the ill-health of your workers under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This means that you need to be sure that any of your workers who undertake safety-critical tasks are not suffering from any medical conditions or undergoing medical treatment that could affect their ability to complete this work safely.

The best way to ensure compliance with this legislation is through a safety-critical medical. These in-depth medicals are designed to assess the health of your employees. It will ensure they do not need any medical treatment or suffer any conditions that could affect their ability to undertake safety-critical work.

What is a Safety-Critical Medical?

Safety-Critical Medicals are a professional assessment of an employee’s health to determine whether they are able to undertake a task defined as safety-critical during the course of their job.

Carried out by a professional, this medical assessment indicates whether an individual’s health could pose a health and safety risk, either to themselves or others. It is an essential part of maintaining a safe workplace environment.

Safety-critical medicals also help you protect your employees by enabling early detection of diseases, medical conditions or any other adverse health changes.

They are covered by legislation from the Health And Safety Executive which states that employers have a duty of care to prevent the ill-health of their workers. This is your legal obligation.

Safety-critical medicals ensure that workers do not have any medical condition that may compromise their ability to complete safety-critical tasks by leading to any of the following:

  • Impairment of awareness
  • Loss of concentration
  • Sudden loss of consciousness or incapacity
  • Loss of balance or loss of coordination
  • A significant limitation of mobility
  • Sudden loss of awareness, concentration, balance

Who needs a safety-critical worker medical/What are safety-critical roles?

Safety-critical tasks can be found in a wide range of roles and industries. There are some tasks that are easy to identify, but it is also important to engage in ongoing risk assessment to identify anything new that arises.

Who needs a Safety Critical Medical?

A safety-critical medical should be carried out on anybody for whom ill-health may compromise their ability to undertake a task defined as safety-critical – thereby posing a significant risk to the health and safety of others and themselves.

Individuals working in the following professions are considered to be safety-critical workers and should be medically assessed in order to ensure their medical suitability for the role (this may include all workers entering a site, whether their roles are safety-critical or not):

  • Forklift truck drivers
  • Employees working at heights
  • Employees working in confined spaces
  • Mobile plant workers and those operating plant machinery
  • Roadside workers
  • Drivers
  • Night workers
  • Lone workers
  • Workers in the construction industry

What is a safety-critical environment?

Safety-critical environments can be found in a range of industries. They can include confined spaces, working at height and vocational driving. As with all safety-critical work, it is any environment where a sudden incapacity could put the worker, colleague or member of the public at risk.

Examples of safety-critical environments are:

  • Working with live electricity
  • Working at height
  • Working above open water
  • Air traffic, train, or vehicle control
  • Waste disposal or heavy machinery plants
  • Confined spaces such as tanks, kilns or underground
  • Driving private or public transport including cars, lorries, planes, ships and boats
  • Working close to live traffic or in traffic management

How often do you need a safety-critical medical?

Many things can impact how long safety-critical worker medicals remain valid. Age is a big contributing factor. Over the age of 54 it is important to have more frequent tests. Over the age of 65 you must have one of these in-depth medicals designed to prevent ill health at least once a year.

As an employer, your legal duty of care is ongoing for the duration of a worker’s employment, regardless of age. This is why we recommend that this type of occupational health assessment should be carried out annually on safety-critical workers of any age.

Getting your safety-critical medical certificate

Once someone has undertaken a safety-critical worker medical they will be issued with an occupational health certificate. This will state whether they are medically capable of undertaking safety-critical tasks.

How long will a safety-critical medical assessment take?

The medical normally takes around 45-60 minutes for the standard tests. This will depend on the exact tests that are carried out though. If additional assessments such as alcohol testing are requested, the process may take longer.

Upon the completion of the assessment, we will issue the individual with a Safety Critical Medical Certificate outlining the decision, which may include certain restrictions to their role due to their current health. 

What does a safety-critical medical involve?

The exact nature of the safety-critical medical assessment we carry out will depend on the type of job role and the risks associated with it.

The assessment elements can include:

How much does a safety-critical medical cost?

The cost per medical is £160.00, which also includes the fit for work certificate. If required we can include further tests for drugs and alcohol which is priced at £85.00.

What will my safety-critical medical certificate look like?

Following the assessment, we will typically report one of the following outcomes depending on the findings:

  • Fit
  • Unfit
  • Fit with restrictions

What do I need to bring with me?

For your safety medical test, you should bring a form of identification (such as a drivers licence or passport) and information about any medication you are taking. This will allow us to fully assess your health and make informed decisions about your ability to carry out any task defined as safety-critical without posing a significant risk to the health or safety of yourself or others.

Can you fail a safety-critical medical?

It is possible to fail a safety-critical worker medical if you are found to be unable to safely and reliably carry out a task defined as safety-critical due to your health.

This outcome will only be found after all relevant tests are taken, and will be in line with national standards of health and safety legislation.

Where can I get a safety-critical medical?

For ease and immediate results, we can carry out safety-critical medicals at our offices based in Shardlow, Derby. However, if this is not convenient, our occupational health services team have the ability to undertake the required tests on your own site as well.

Book a safety-critical medical in Derby

Our David Barber Occupational Health Team work with employers, management and employees around Derby and the East Midlands to ensure their working environment is as safe as possible. We offer health surveillance, risk assessments and general support to keep your staff safe in your Derby workplace.

Contact the team today for more information.

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