Requirements for ‘Safety Critical Medicals’ hitting construction contractors

Outsource Safety LtdSafety newsRequirements for ‘Safety Critical Medicals’ hitting construction contractors

Safety Critical Medicals are an issue which is being raised by more and more clients since the beginning of this year. It is linked to a national scheme know as Constructing Better Health which is backed by the larger constructors in the construction industry. You can find out more about this scheme here; The issue is that many contractors are only becoming aware of these requirements when they arrive at site, meaning that instead of being able to start work many have been referred to an occupational health provider in order to have an assessment carried out for their Safety Critical Workers.  Please note that this can vary, some contractors will insist that a test within the last 12 months must be completed before work starts and others adopting a less rigorous approach.

The idea behind the assessment is that it provides a process which allows the organisation to comply with its duties under HASWA Section 3 to ensure the safety of their own workers and third parties. Below we’ve given more information about the requirements of the scheme and what workers it covers, these are generally those at higher risk of causing harm to themselves and others, examples would be plant operators or workers on high speed roads.  Assessments are conducted by approved occupational health providers and you can find a list of these here;

Background and definitions; Safety Critical Medicals & Safety Critical Workers

A safety critical worker is defined as;

“Where the ill health of an individual may compromise their ability to undertake a task defined as safety critical, thereby posing a significant risk to the health and safety of others”

In construction the following have been defined as ‘safety critical’:
  • All mobile plant operators
  • High-speed road workers
  • LGV / HGV Drivers
  • Scaffolder / Rigger
  • Slinger / Signaller / Banksman / Traffic Marshal
  • Steel Erector / Structural Fabricator
  • Steeplejack
  • Confined Spaces Workers
  • Rail trackside workers
  • Asbestos licensed workers
  • Tunnellers, or those working in a confined space
  • Tasks carried out at height where collective preventative measures to control risk are not practicable
  • Others as identified by the risk assessment process
Whilst the use of professional judgment typically allows us to ensure that an individual is fit to perform a task effectively and without risk to their own or others health and safety in broad terms, although there are general duties of care under the HSAWA, it is likely that only those exposed to safety critical work would need be subjected to a full medical assessment.  This medical assessment may consist of;
  1. Blood pressure measurement;
  2. Height, Weight & Body Mass;
  3. Audiometry – hearing test;
  4. Spirometry – Lung function test (if indicated – job specific);
  5. Visual Acuity, colour vision and peripheral vision screen;
  6. Urinalysis for diabetes or other health issues;
  7. Musculoskeletal assessment;
  8. Mental health assessment;
  9. A baseline SCW health questionnaire to establish any current or previous medical/psychological health history.

As always, if you have questions and your a retained client under our Safety~net competent person scheme please contact your consultant to give specific guidance on your compliance.

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