The University of York is committed to a policy of equal opportunities and recognises the duties specified under the Equality Act 2010.
The following procedure is designed to determine the individual's fitness for their job role and to identify any appropriate reasonable adjustments or equipment which may support the individual to perform their role, as well as any safety measures including on-going health surveillance.
This document will apply to all new staff and any existing staff offered a new post within the University from the date of implementation.
All medical and personal information provided by employees will be held confidentially by the University Occupational Health Service and will be subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998, Medical Reports Act 1988 and GMC Guidance on Confidentiality 2009.
Information from this form will only be released to others with the employee's consent. If health issues come to light which may impact on the employee's ability to carry out the role, the Occupational Health Adviser will advise the recruiting manager accordingly, subject to the legal requirements and guidance governing confidentiality and consent.
If adjustments are required to the duties of a job or to the workplace for health and safety reasons, or where adjustments are necessary for personal protection, information about the adjustments required may be divulged to the individual's line manager.
We may contact the individual to discuss their responses to the health questionnaire or to arrange an appointment with them if this is considered appropriate.
A copy of any advice resulting from the assessment will be returned to the recruiting manager and to HR Services to confirm the outcome. If adjustments are required, a copy may also be forwarded to the University's Disability Services. The original form will be retained confidentially by HR.
If queries or concerns should later arise regarding an employee's fitness to perform any aspect of their role, line managers may refer the employee to Occupational Health for further assessment and advice.
Where possible the health screening procedure will be conducted electronically, with all relevant links to questionnaires provided to managers and new employees at the appropriate stages.
Summary of the process
Recruitment to new posts will involve evaluating successful applicants against the health screening requirements of the post they will occupy.
When a recruiting manager submits a vacancy request form (VRF), we will ask them to complete a form that asks about potential health issues associated with the post.
The successful appointee should complete a health declaration form:
- When this has been evaluated, we may send the individual a more detailed questionnaire. When this is completed and returned, we will arrange a medical or health surveillance appointment with the individual if appropriate and/or issue notification of the result of the assessment to the recruiting manager.
- Alternatively, if no further action is required, the health declaration is simply stored on file by HR.
Any issues about the appointee’s health suitability for the post will be looked at by the Occupational Health Adviser, liaising with the recruiting manager.
The process in detail
1. Health screening requirements
Once the VRF has been submitted, HR will respond to the recruiting manager. Included in this response is the requirement to complete a health screening requirements form
This asks about any health surveillance requirements of the job and exposure to hazards that are known or likely to be part of that job. There is additional space at the end of each section for the recruiting manager to specify known or likely tasks, health surveillance requirements or hazards not yet covered in the previous questions. These requirements are subject to departmental risk assessment and are the responsibility of the applicant's manager.
- If one or more of the categories shown under 'Health Questionnaire' apply to the job, then the applicant will always be sent a more detailed health screening questionnaire.
- If one or more categories shown under 'Health Surveillance' apply to the job, then this serves as a notification of a health surveillance requirement for that job. The applicant will need an appointment with the Occupational Health Adviser.
- If one or more categories shown under 'Job Requirements' apply to the job, then this information is used to help determine the applicant’s fitness for the job. We won’t book an appointment for the applicant unless specifically requested by the recruiting manager.
Important: unless appropriately notified, we will not automatically provide any health surveillance appointments.
2. The health declaration
Once recruitment to the post has been completed, HR will send the health declaration form and the health screening requirements to the successful applicant. This is a simple declaration involving health-related statements which should all be answered.
Completion of the health declaration is required in order to accept the role.
The University is fulfilling its obligations under the Equality Act to evaluate the applicant’s need for adjustments, without the need for extensive questions and provision of confidential medical information by the applicant. More detailed information will only be required if a positive response is made in the declaration or due to the hazards associated with the job.
3. The Health screening questionnaire
Employment is subject to the health screening process. We may send a more detailed health screening questionnaire to the applicant or arrange an occupational health appointment.
The health screening questionnaire is sent to all applicants who have returned a health declaration and have answered 'Yes - one or more of the above apply to me' to any of the questions.
- The health screening questionnaire itself requires all applicants to complete 15 questions under Section 2: Health History.
- Only those applicants whose jobs will involve work with human tissue, blood or body fluids are required to complete Section 3: Immunisation Status relating to Hepatitis B vaccination history.
- Only those applicants whose jobs involve working with food or regularly in areas where food is prepared or stored are required to complete Section 4: Food Handling.
4. Food Hygiene
The University's obligations in relation to Food Hygiene legislation and guidelines require specific food hygiene health screening. This should be carried out by the recruiting department during the recruitment process for these contracts. Should there be any query regarding the fitness of the applicant for the post, they should be referred to the Occupational Health Adviser for further advice.
5. Hazard Breakdown
The health screening process is not a replacement for departmental risk assessment of hazards. Additional advice is available from the Occupational Health Adviser and/or the Health, Safety and Security Department if required.
All hazards listed should be subject to departmental risk assessment and the necessary controls and health surveillance. This includes ensuring that these are in place and notified to the Occupational Health Adviser by the recruiting manager.
Health surveillance will be provided by Occupational Health to employees covering areas such as:
- respiratory health surveillance
- Hand Arm Vibration monitoring
- audiometry/hearing surveillance
- vaccinations and blood tests for Hepatitis B
- advice and follow-up for blood exposure incidents
- blood tests for work with Schistosoma mansoni
- specific health screening and/or medicals for staff working with Leishmania and for those working with radiation and requiring a health certificate for work in foreign facilities.
Training courses provided by the Health, Safety and Security Department can be arranged either by contacting the HSSD directly or via the Health and Safety Training web page.
Once an applicant's health screening questionnaire has been assessed, a standard form will be returned to the recruiting manager stating that the applicant is:
- 'Fit', or
- 'Fit with adjustments/restrictions as follows' or that
- 'Further information is being sought and there will be a delay'.
A copy of any form stating that the applicant is 'Fit with adjustments/restrictions as follows' will also be sent to HR.
It is expected that the majority of questionnaires can be processed within a week of receipt. A small proportion of applicants are likely to require further follow-up including phone contact and/or appointments with the Occupational Health Adviser. An even smaller proportion will require an appointment with the Occupational Health Physician in order to reach a decision regarding the applicant's fitness for the post. This is likely to cause a delay in the screening process.
A form that states 'Fit with the following adjustments/restrictions' will include further advice about adjustments or restrictions that the individual will require in order to perform the role. These could be due to a disability covered under the terms of the Equality Act. If necessary, a fuller report or description of the applicant’s requirements will be provided.
Where the fitness of an applicant for a post is in doubt, an appointment will be arranged for assessment with the Occupational Health Physician.
Where further information is required, the notification: 'Further information is being sought and there will be a delay' may be used. This might be because we are writing to an applicant's GP or Consultant regarding a medical condition.
Where there are instances of an applicant not being considered fit for a particular job, Occupational Health and HR will be involved in managing the outcome with the individual.
The Occupational Health Advisor, Gary Malcolm, is available to answer any queries about this process via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone (01904) 324608. Further information regarding Occupational Health including making a Management Referral and appointment booking is available on the occupational health webpages.