Have you been asked to take a pre-employment medical? Or maybe you’re considering enlisting a pre-employment medical company to take care of vetting potential employees to better a safer working environment? Whether you’re hiring or job seeking, it’s important to understand exactly how pre-employment medical examinations function.
What is a Pre-Employment Medical?
Pre-employment medicals are occupational health examinations designed to ensure that a candidate is able to meet the health and safety exigencies of the role that they have applied for.
As the name implies, this examination takes place during the recruitment stage. While pre-employment medicals may not be deemed necessary for some jobs, for others they are essential to ensuring the safety of the workforce, reducing risks, and creating a safer work environment.
Why do I Need a Pre-Employment Medical?
Medical assessments are used by some companies as a step in their hiring process that allows them to obtain more information about their candidates. This information should not be used in a discriminatory manner. According to the Australian Human Rights Commission:
“ It is illegal to refuse to hire someone based on information from a medical examination that reveals a disability if the information is unrelated to the person’s ability to perform the job’s fundamental requirements..”
However, there are certain jobs that may require medical examinations to ensure a candidate’s suitability. Pre-employment medical tests should assess the candidate’s capacity to perform the job requirements and must, therefore, relate directly to the job’s role.
Which Jobs Require a Pre-Employment Medical?
While there are certain statutory medicals, such as Helicopter Underwater Escape Training medicals or commercial vehicle driver medicals, any employer can ask a job applicant to complete a pre-employment medical for any role, provided that the medical examination is relevant to the inherent requirements of that role. So, you may well be asked to complete a medical examination prior to employment for any job, as opposed to high-risk jobs only.
That said, pre-employment medicals are most common in the following sectors:
- Offshore work
- Rail safety
What Tests Does a Pre-Employment Medical Include?
Pre-employment medical examinations are undertaken by occupational health professionals. The exact nature of your medical examination will depend upon the company that you have applied to join, as well as the industry and job requirements.
A standard pre-employment medical generally consists of two parts: a medical history questionnaire and a physical medical examination.
Medical Records Interview
During this part of the procedure, the candidate will be asked about their present and past medical history, including any injuries, medical conditions, disabilities, and general health. Applicants should be completely truthful in their replies as any untruths could result in the creation of unnecessary risk for the company’s workforce.
It is worth pointing out that some territories and states require workers to disclose their full medical history before claiming Workers Compensation for an accident that occurred in the workplace.
If you are on any medication, make sure that you declare it on your questionnaire, as this will be detected anyway on any laboratory test results.
Pre-Employment Medical Examination
The medical check-up will look at some or all of the following to determine the candidate’s appropriateness for the job:
- Height and weight.
- Hearing test
- Vision testing – including color blindness
- Urine analysis – note that it is required that the collection of urine is directly witnessed by a health professional.
- Cardiovascular health – heart rate, blood pressure, ECG
- Lung function (spirometry)
- Chest X-ray
- Musculoskeletal examination
- Examination for hernias
- Drug and alcohol screening (DAS)
- Psychological testing
Remember, the pre-employment medical examination is designed to ensure a candidate’s suitability for the role they have applied for. For this reason, some of the above tests may not be required for each and every post. Pre-employment medical tests should not be used to supply the employer with information about a prospective employee’s general health.
Do I get the Job if I Pass a Pre-Employment Medical?
While pre-employment medical exams are an important factor, they are not the be-all and end-all when it comes down to choosing who gets the job. There are numerous other factors that employees will also take into consideration, including how well you do at the interview, your experience, and any references.
How to Prepare for Your Pre-Employment Medical
Worried about going for your pre-employment medical? Here’s how to best prepare yourself in the run-up to the big day.
Before you go for your pre-employment medical:
- Ensure you are well-rested (2 days before)
- Avoid alcohol and fatty foods (1 week before)
- Avoid exposure to loud music (minimum 16 hours before)
On the day:
- Make sure you wear appropriate underwear for your examination.
- Appropriate footwear – take runners if applying for a physically demanding job. You may be required to undertake a work fitness assessment.
- Avoid drinking coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages.
- Cut back on fluids – if you drink too much liquid in the run-up to your appointment your urine may be too diluted to accurately perform a urine test.
- Plan ahead so you arrive on time and allow one to two hours for your examination.
Bring with you:
- Valid government-issued photo ID
- Corrective glasses
- Asthma medication (if applicable).
It is completely normal to feel a little stressed when going for a pre-employment medical, however, there is little you can do to affect the outcome. So stay calm and collected. Remember, your pre-employment medical is just one aspect of the recruitment process.
Who Pays for a Pre-Employment Medical?
Health screening tests are not normally eligible for Medicare benefits, although this could be included in the case of unemployment. It is standard practice that the employer who requests the medical is responsible for payment.
Do you need a pre-employment medical? Whether you are self-employed and need a pre-employment medical, or are looking to employ the services of professional occupational health specialists, JobFit has got you covered. With over 250 regional and remote locations across the country, we’re here to partner with your business for a healthy workforce and reduced occupational hazards.