The importance of pre-employment medicals

By Kylie Dowell

Bound by industrial relations, equal employment opportunity and discrimination laws, local councils have as much of an interest in preemployment
medical checks as any other sector.

Some managers in local government understand the importance of preemployment medical checks but many consider them to be unnecessary red tape that presents a barrier to getting a new staff members on board.

Often there’s such a rush to get someone into a position to do the work waiting to be done that pre-employment medical checks are skipped or the correct and lawful processes are not followed.

Staff recruitment can be a costly and resource intensive exercise, but if organisations don’t get it right and protect themselves and their employees by ensuring pre-employment medical checks are carried out as part of the recruitment process, costs will inevitably be incurred.

Pre-employment medical checks provide a base line understanding of the health status of job applicants for such things as hearing, eyesight, lung function and general fitness. They enable employers to determine if applicants are fit and capable of carrying out the tasks of the position for which they are being recruited.

Such medical information is vital to ensuring new recruits are not being set up to fail. For example, there’s no point in employing someone who has a tiny frame with little strength to a position that consists of heavy manual handling all day; it would only be a matter of time before manual handling injuries such as sprains or strains and back injuries would lead to a worker’s compensation claim.

Having a process of pre-employment medical checks in place sends a strong message to job applicants about the serious consideration given to job applicants’ health by the recruiting organisation.

Listed below are some tips on what employers should take into consideration when conducting pre-employment medical checks and how to ensure they are done legally.

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