Regular employee health visits help to prevent work-related diseases. The frequency and type of medical examinations depend on the work-inherent accident and health-threatening risk factors which affect the mental and physical well-being of the employee and other individuals in their environment.
Besides, in Hungary employers must establish and maintain the environmental conditions and circumstances for a safe workplace and must provide employee health services for their employees. Minimum requirements are determined by the law.
Occupational healthcare (that incorporates employee health visits and occupational hygiene) is concerned with measuring the work position related possible risk factors, too, and (if necessary) giving advice on how to decrease them.
The purpose of employee health visits includes the determination of the followings:
- if health-damaging factors at the workplace pose a threat to the employee’s health,
- if the employee’s disease or disability increases the risk of accidents,
- if the employee’s condition threatens other employee’s health,
- if the employee can be employed without risking worsening of their condition (in case of altered ability to work),
- if the employee can further be employed in their current position,
- if regular or more frequent health employee visits are needed.
During this process, the employee health physicians work together with work safety professionals, the employers and the employees (and work safety representatives) as well. It is the employer’s responsibility to establish safe work environment for the employees.
During the complex risk-assessment, doctors performing employee health examinations can give advice regarding the following topics:
- Assessment of work environmental etiological factors (factors involved in the development of diseases, e.g. noise and vibration assessment, measurement of the concentration in the air of certain toxic agents).
- How to decrease risk factors by giving recommendations on work-organization.
- Advice on personal protective equipment.
Employee health visit examinations
The aim of employee health visits is to examine the employee’s health condition and to determine whether they are suitable for the work position.
The following examinations can be performed depending on the type of work:
- physical examination (basic exam to assess abnormalities internal organs),
- chest X-ray (e.g. for the diagnosis of tuberculosis),
- audiometry screening (assessment of hearing),
- ECG examination,
- ophthalmological examination (visual acuity and color vision),
- mental health/work-related stress assessment.
Furthermore, if necessary, to advise on further examinations by specialists or specific diagnostic methods (e.g. lab work).
The frequency of employee health visits
The frequency of employee health visits is primary determined by the physician based on legal regulations and professional guidelines. Another determining factor is the employer’s personal characteristics (age and diseases prevalence).
Employment health visit is required prior to:
- employment (starting to work),
- changing positions or jobs,
- working and travelling abroad (in certain cases).
Regular employee health visits should be scheduled in the cases below.
If you are exposed to certain physical, chemical and biological agents at your workplace. Check-ups shall be more frequent, than regular employee health visits if you work with arsenic materials, benzol or you work under the water or you are exposed to heat-, vibration or noise pollution, etc.
If your position exposes you to increased risk of danger (e.g. you are working at high places or under the ground, you work with electricity, positions that involves the danger of fire or explosion or working with weapons, etc.). In these cases, until the age of 40, employee health visits are recommended in every three years; 40-50 in every second year; above 50, these examinations are required to be performed annually. For employees working with electricity, it is advised to perform employee health visits annually.
If you work in positions with increased mental load, employee health visits are required annually, such as:
- positions where employees are responsible for other people’s lives or materials with great value,
- where decision making is required in hard and complicated situations or they have to be made based on missing or controversial information, difficult correlations,
- where complicated technologies are being used,
- when routine mental work needs to be done with short deadlines,
- working with people in controversial situations,
- emotionally stressing positions: nursery care for disabled or severely ill people,
- working in front of the screen.
Out of turn employee health visits are recommended when:
- change in the health status occurs,
- occupational disease occurs or severe, regular occupational accident happens,
- a state of inability for work persists for longer than 30 days,
- a pause in employment status persists for longer than 6 months,
- significant change in the work environment.
See also: Employee fitness examination