New starter health checks

When writing job descriptions, use the ‘Hazard-specific/safety critical duties checklist’ (available from the right-hand side of this page) to identify any hazards and/or safety-critical duties in a job. This will determine whether a new starter health declaration alone is sufficient or whether the duties of the post mean that a health questionnaire and assessment are required.

When a preferred candidate has been identified the pro-forma offer letter sets out that the offer is subject to:

  • “A completed and returned New Starter Health Declaration form and, where applicable, clearance by the University Occupational Health Service and the ability of the department to accommodate any identified reasonable workplace adjustments to enable you to do the job.
  • [If applicable] A completed and returned New Starter Health Questionnaire and clearance by the University Occupational Health Services that you are fit to undertake the duties of the post you have been offered.”

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Employees starting jobs that involve work with hazards (such as sensitising chemicals, allergens, etc) or safety-critical activities (such as night work, driving a University vehicle, working at height, etc) must be sent the new starter health questionnaire and have completed and returned it in good time before employment begins.

This questionnaire collects specific job-related information about a post, and relevant health information about the new starter.

This information is then assessed by the OHS advisers who will:

  • assess the candidate's medical capability to do the job for which they have applied. This will include assessing whether there are any statutory and legal reasons why an individual may not carry out particular work (for example health and safety regulations which would mean that a candidate with epilepsy would not be allowed to undertake a post involving driving)
  • provide advice to departments to ensure that none of the role's duties will adversely affect any pre-existing health conditions the candidate has declared

Employees whose work will involve hazards or safety-critical activities should not be allowed to commence these activities until they have completed and returned the new starter health questionnaire and an Occupational Health adviser has confirmed that they are fit for the proposed employment. 

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  1. You should produce the new starter health check forms via CoreHR, which can be done as part of the offer letter. In limited circumstances, a non-CoreHR word version of the forms may be used instead, which can be requested from the HRIS Data Services team
  2. Some details about the successful candidate and the department will be automatically populated when the forms are produced from CoreHR. The rest of the information will need to be completed manually. The recruiting officer should check that the form has all of the relevant and accurate details included, by cross-referencing with the ‘Hazards and safety-critical checklist’ before sending it to the candidate. 

Note:

The pre-employment health questionnaire must only be sent to candidates whose jobs involve hazards or safety-critical activities. Asking candidates to answer specific questions about their health may result in the individual providing considerable personal clinical information, which may not be required for the job they have applied to do, and the department may then be in breach of Data Protection legisltation.

 
  1. Email the form(s) to the candidate using the template email from the right-hand side menu (which can be adapted accordingly).
  2. In exceptional circumstances where a specific request has been made by the applicant to post the form or there is no email provided, the form(s) should be posted together with an envelope addressed to the department and/or OHS, as applicable. The Core vacancy ID should be marked on the outside of the envelope.3. Email the form(s) to the candidate using the template email from the right-hand side menu (which can be adapted accordingly).
  3. Candidates should verify the details in the form(s) and complete any sections where prompted to do so, ensuring they sign the declaration section at the end. The candidate should email the completed declaration form directly to the department and the new starter health questionnaire to the OHS, as per the instructions on the forms.
  4. New starter health declaration form: where a candidate answers ‘No’ to both of the statements, the department should simply file the form in the personnel file; no further action is required. Where a candidate answers ‘Yes’ to either of the statements, the form should be passed to the Disability Adviser and/or OHS, as applicable, and further action may be required before the new starter may commence employment. Where a candidate answers 'Yes' to both statements the form needs to be sent to the OHS and the Disability Adviser in one email. Please use the template email provided to forward the form to OHS and/or the Disability Adviser.

    OHS and/or the Disability Adviser will inform the department of the outcome of the discussions with the individual. This may have an impact on the individual's start date, in case further information or assessment are necessary or to allow time to put in place any workplace adjustments which are agreed.

  5. New starter health questionnaire: In the absence of health issues or any other problems, OHS will normally complete the assessment within five working days following the receipt of the questionnaire.

    OHS will return a copy of the relevant sections of the new starter health questionnaire to the department, confirming whether or not the individual is medically fit for the proposed employment. The completed form will be kept confidentially by OHS who will include this in the individual's OHS record. Where further information is required by OHS in order that the assessment can be completed there may be a delay in responding to departments.

  6. CoreHR should be updated once the health check has been requested and again when the confirmation of completion has been received.

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Health checks forms should only be sent to candidates once a conditional job offer has been made and the forms should ideally be included with the formal job offer letter. Where the individual has declared a disability to the University, the University has a duty to make reasonable adjustments to allow them to take up the post. The adjustments should normally be agreed and in place BEFORE the employment commences.

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Successful candidates whose roles will involve work with hazards or safety-critical activities must not start work with the University until medical clearance has been given by OHS.

The University is under a legal obligation to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act. Allowing a medically unfit candidate to commence a safety-critical role could result in breach of certain regulations, such as the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (2002) and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999).

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