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Safety Critical Worker Medicals

Safety critical work is defined in Constructing Better Health (CBH) standards as work…

“…where the ill health of an individual may compromise their ability to undertake a task defined as safety critical, thereby posing a significant risk to the health and safety of others.”

Undertaking safety critical medicals ensures organisations are legally compliant under current health and safety legislation.

The possibility of having someone not ‘fit for task’ working onsite not only puts them and other employees at risk, it could also lead to prosecution for not complying with health and safety legislation.

What is the purpose of a safety critical worker (SCW) medical?

A worker may have a medical condition could have adversely affect their health, leading to a situation which could jeopardise their safety and the safety of those working with them. 

Possible medical conditions could include sudden loss of consciousness or incapacity, impairment of airways, loss of concentration, impairment of balance or coordination or significant limitation of mobility.

Proper screening via a safety critical medical can help highlight and address such situations.

Who needs a SCW medical?

A risk assessment of the activity should identify whether it has a safety critical nature and if so, those ‘safety critical’ workers should undergo a full SCW medical assessment by a qualified occupational health provider.

They may include:

  • plant machinery operators
  • high speed roadside workers
  • rail track workers
  • those working at heights (scaffolders etc)
  • those working in confined spaces (tunnellers etc)
  • anyone identified by the risk assessment process

What is involved in a SCW medical?

A SCW medical will depend on the job being undertaken. CBH* (Constructing Better Health) sets the standard for most safety critical roles within the construction industry.

CBH dictates the minimum health surveillance required but some employers may require extra assessments. Please visit the CBH website for further details - www.cbhscheme.com

However, all safety critical workers will complete a health questionnaire, which is then followed by a series of tests, all of which are designed to assess whether the worker is currently fit for task.

These tests can include:

  • blood pressure
  • hearing
  • respiratory
  • skin checks
  • visual acuity
  • colour perception
  • mental health
  • urinalysis
  • mobility and coordination (musculoskeletal) checks
  • hand arm vibration
  • drug and alcohol screening

Certain tests can be added to the above list, depending on the type of industry and health and safety compliance requirements.

How long does a SCW medical take?

The medical usually takes 90 minutes to complete and can be carried out at MOHS’s medical centre in West Bromwich or onsite at the client’s premises.

A report is produced for each individual, clearly outlining any decisions reached on their ability to work. Fit for task medicals have three possible outcomes:

  • fit to work
  • fit to work but with certain restrictions in place
  • not fit to work

NB: any employee who is assessed as ‘not fit to work’ can be treated and monitored over time and then retested when improvements have been made, with the hope of allowing them to return to their safety critical roles. They may also undertake a functional assessment in some cases, administered by their employer.

*MOHS Workplace Health is a CBH accredited provider of SCW medicals 


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