Why Pre-employment Medicals are Important
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There is a growing trend in recruitment in Australia to request that job applicants undergo a pre-employment medical, to prove their physical ability to perform the tasks associated with the job they have applied for. Workplace health and safety are big issues in the 21st century and requiring prospective employees to undergo industry-specific health checks is a major step towards insuring a safe working environment. Corporate health is becoming recognised as a vital issue in the productivity of a company.
Recruitment costs companies, in both time and money, and so companies need to find ways to limit the cost and minimise the disruption to business. Using pre-employment medicals as a tool to ensure the right people are hired, is one way to gain some control over these costs.
The employment medical examination tests such things as vision, hearing, lung function, blood pressure, heart rate and general fitness. Drug and alcohol testing can be included as can various pathology tests. Many companies have the medical examinations designed to be industry-specific or job-specific to test the applicant’s ability to perform the tasks required in the job description. These tailored medicals have a benchmark of minimum performance required by the position, so there is something with which to compare the applicant’s results.
Pre-employment medical assessments protect the company against hiring an unsuitable worker but they also protect the potential employee. Allowing someone to start in a new position, without having an understanding of their ability to meet the physical demands of the job, is simply setting them up to fail. At best, the new employee will quit, meaning that the recruitment process will have to start again. At worst, the new employee will be injured at work, disrupting business and leading to possible workers compensation claims.
When people apply for employment within your company and see that pre-employment medicals are required, they understand that the company is serious about workplace health and safety. Research has shown that workers in general, and executives in particular, look favourably on corporations that have a workplace health program and will actively seek out employment with them.
It is important to remember that, while the pre-employment medical is an important tool in the recruitment process, it cannot ever be the only indicator of a candidate’s suitability for the position. Have your policies and procedures on any health in the workplace initiative scrutinised by legal personnel, to make sure they are not discriminatory and comply with current employment regulations.
Candidates need to have an understanding of why certain tests are required and how they are relevant and applicable to the position being applied for. This is where having your pre-employment medicals tailored to the position is helpful. They then become a useful tool for introducing company policies on various issues. For example, if you ask for drug and alcohol tests, the candidate can be informed of the tolerances of these substances within the company.
Research has shown quite conclusively that pre-employment screening of applicants helps to lower the incidence and severity of workplace injuries. To make sure you get this important aspect of recruitment right, consider getting advice from a specialist health company like Era Health Work Solutions in Melbourne. They will tailor the health checks to your workplace and job descriptions to make sure they are effective and comply with regulations. Era Health’s services are available Australia wide.