This week’s Safetip is about conducting a fit-to-work assessment to be sure that an employee can safely perform a specific job or task.
What is “Fit-to-Work”?
After an illness or injury, a worker may receive medical treatments and also take some time away from work. When the employee recovers, the employer can decide to perform a “fit-to-work” or “fitness-to-work” assessment to make sure that a person is medically fit to return to work. The assessment includes a series of medical, musculoskeletal, mental and physical tests.
However, there are many other reasons for employers to perform fit-to-work assessments beyond the immediate aftermath of a recovery following an injury or illness.
Why Perform a Fit-to-Work Assessment?
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety has a good list of reasons to perform a fit-to-work assessment. Reasons include, but are not limited to:
- A significant change in working conditions has occurred.
- Someone transfers to a position where the working conditions are greatly different.
- A job has been modified and the returning worker is still undergoing physiotherapy and/or rehabilitation.
- A person’s health has changed after returning to work following a recovery from a serious illness or injury.
- A medical condition may limit, reduce or prevent someone from performing a new or current job effectively (e.g. musculoskeletal conditions that limit mobility).
- A medical condition is likely to make it unsafe for someone to perform the job (e.g. a person may become unconscious in some atmospheric environments).
- A medical condition of a worker is likely to result in unsafe conditions for co-workers or the public (e.g. driving is part of the job, but the person is subject to unpredictable and sudden unconsciousness).
- A medical condition may be made worse by the job (e.g. excessive physical effort by someone with a heart or lung problem).
Finally, fit-to-work assessments can be more effective if you keep track of employee medical records in a centralized system in real-time, while protecting data confidentiality and privacy. An Occupational Health software solution can help you better manage medical records and maintain a healthy workforce.
Each week we publish a Safetip where we share a safety tip or best practice that contributes to safety excellence. Visit Enablon Insights again next Wednesday for a new Safetip!
Download NAEM’s “How to Successfully Deploy an EHS&S Software System” report to learn more about six steps that will help you start and stay on the right track as you introduce an EHS&S application that can deliver tangible benefits: