New starter health checks procedure

NB The new forms/process come into effect from 23 January 2017. Please do not use old forms after this date as it may delay the process.

Please use the Hazards and safety-critical activities checklist (42kb) to identify any hazards/safety-critical duties in a job. See: writing job descriptions.

When a preferred candidate has been identified they should be offered the post, subject to the condition of a satisfactory health check and all other relevant pre-employment checks. The new starter health checks procedure may involve a two-track approach (two separate forms), as follows:

1) All new employees (including those changing roles) must complete and return the new starter health declaration form prior to commencing employment. This process enables new starters to declare any health condition or disability which may affect their ability to do the job they have been offered, by answering two questions. The form may be used in order to accommodate any disability or impairment which a candidate has declared. Adjustments may include physical adaptations, or adjustments to working arrangements such as hours. Where the candidate has answered ‘Yes’ to either of the questions in the declaration, the form will be passed to the University's Disability Adviser and/or the Occupational Health Services (OHS) (as applicable) who may provide further advice.

2) Employees starting jobs that involve work with hazards (eg sensitising chemicals, allergens etc) or safety-critical activities (eg night work, driving a University vehicle etc) must complete and return the new starter health questionnaire before commencing employment. 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 can:

(i) 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 would mean that a candidate with epilepsy would not be allowed to undertake a post involving driving; and

(ii) 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.

Who should complete a health check form?

All new starters must complete and return the new starter health declaration form before commencing employment.

In addition, employees whose work will involve hazards or safety-critical activities should not be allowed to commence a new employment 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.

The above applies to both:

  1. employees who are new to the University, and
  2. existing employees who are appointed to new posts within the University.

How do I produce and send the relevant new starter health check form?

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. Certain information may need to be completed manually. The recruiting officer should check that the form has all of the relevant and accurate details included before sending it to the candidate. 

NB The pre-employment health questionnaire must only be sent to candidates whose jobs involve hazards or safety-critical activities (see above). 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 the Data Protection Act.

3. Email the form(s) to the candidate using the template email from the right-hand side menu (which can be adapted accordingly).

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

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.

7. New starter health questionnaire only: 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.

New starter health declaration that has been forwarded to OHS/Disability Adviser by the department: 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 possibe reasonable workplace adjustments.

8. You should record in CoreHR that the health check has been requested and then again when the confirmation of completion has been received. Refer to Section 3 of the REC03 Manage Online Applications (542kb) QRG.

At what stage in the recruitment process should the health checks be completed?

Health checks form(s) should only be sent to candidates once a conditional job offer has been made (the form(s) 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.

Can an employee commence a new appointment that involves hazards or safety-critical activities without OHS confirmation of medical fitness?

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).