Medical examinations and work – General

 Medical examinations at work are performed for various reasons:

  • To determine if a person can be considered physically fit enough to be able to perform duties in a safe and healthy manner.
  • To determine if a person is suffering from illness or disability as a consequence of work.
  • Because (international) rules and regulations oblige a worker to undergo periodical medical examinations.
  • Because the employer wants to provide safe and healthy working conditions and therefore offers employees regular, overall health checks.

Pre-employment medical exam 

This is to determine if a person is medically fit enough to perform duties. This means that the content of this examination will vary with the different duties a worker needs to perform. The object is to determine if a workers health might endanger his own health and/or safety, or that of others, while performing tasks (i.e. an electrician needs to be able to distinguish red form green wires and may therefore not be colorblind, and when the electrician needs to climb ladders while performing duties, his cardiovascular heath needs to be good enough to be able to do so safely and will need to pass a cardiac stress test).

Recurring Job Related Medical Examination 

This is a repeated pre-employment examination. Based upon the medical requirements needed to be able to safely perform duties, the employee will be tested repeatedly throughout his career, to determine whether or not he is still considered to be fit for duty. Depending on job duties and physical demands, this examination may have to be repeated once every year or even up to once every 5 years.

Periodical Work Related Medical Examination 

This examination usually starts with a Risk Assessment (Ned.: Risico Inventerisatie & Evaluatie - RI&E) for your company as a whole, during which possible safety risks or possible risks for occurring occupational diseases or other health risks for the employee are charted. The Periodical Work Related Medical Examination is set up to detect early onset or presence of the occupational diseases or other health issues as brought forth by the Risk Assessment. This type of examination needs to be repeated regularly. Example: if workers have to work under circumstances with loud machinery nearby, they should get an ear/hearing check-up on a yearly basis.

Medical Examinations mandated by law

For certain types of industry or certain professions the medical examinations are determined by law (i.e. Police, Firefighter, Aviation, Maritime Industry). In this case the content as well as the point of evaluation (when is a person to be considered fit for duty) are laid down in clear regulations and guidelines. Sometimes a specific level of certification is required for the examining physician (i.e. Certified Aviation Medical Examiner).

Preventive Medical Examination 

In order to comply with the obligation to provide a safe and healthy work environment, the employer may offer his employees to participate in a Preventive Medical Examination, which is a complete and general survey of a person’s overall physical and mental health. Purpose of this PME is to detect possible health threats at an early stage. This examination is not function related and also encompasses health issues that are not directly related to a person’s job or duties. Items like lifestyle, psychological wellbeing and general physical fitness are included in the PME.