Guide to occupational health assessment

Guide to occupational health assessment

Management guide to occupational health assessments

Welcome to Occupational Health Assessment Ltd. We provide professional medical advice for businesses. With assessments available nationwide within 2 days. We act quickly to help businesses manage health risks.

This business guide to occupational health assessments covers:

  • What occupational health assessments provide for business
  • What can and cannot be assessed and the best questions to ask
  • How to avoid breaking the law while managing sickness and health at work
  • How to arrange an assessment
  • What happens before, during and after an assessment
  • How much an assessment may cost

We understand that managing health conditions at work can be difficult. If used effectively, occupational health can be incredibly helpful in managing sickness absence, especially if you’re supporting mental health issues. Our service delivers rapid access to guidance about how to support a medical condition, or how a health condition may develop in the future. 

You can get professional advice quickly, to help make sure you don’t expose your business to risks, or to do all you can to support a colleague. The reports we provide ensure you can act on the basis of robust and independent professional medical advice.

We help those employees who may be unfortunate enough to be ill, assessing fitness to work. For example, how effectively someone can perform their job. We can advise on whether adjustments to a role or environment may be necessary too.

Assessments are an investigation of the employee’s health, provided as a full medical report. The content of the report provided is always linked with the questions asked at the start. That’s why we’re pleased to provide guidance on the best questions to ask.

What is an occupational health assessment?

To help support those employees who may be ill, a referral to occupational health can assess their fitness to work. An occupational health assessment is a  review of how effectively a person can perform their job. We’ll let you know if adjustments to a role or environment will help.

Occupational health can be incredibly useful to manage the health of your staff. Furthermore, it can also help you manage your Health & Safety risks and obligations too.

Sometimes employees can feel anxious about being referred to occupational health. We are pleased to provide more information about what happens during an occupational health assessment in our What to Expect from Occupational Health Guide.

How to arrange an occupational health assessment?

If you’re concerned about an employee’s ability to do their job, or their mental health, it’s best to seek professional medical advice at the earliest opportunity. Early intervention and specialist medical help offer the best prospect of a successful conclusion to a health problem at work.

Most absent employees should be able to return to previous duties, however, some may require adjustments to their role or environment.

What if my employee has an underlying health condition?

If there is an underlying medical condition or longer-term disability, this does not necessarily mean that the employee will be unfit for work. Sometimes adjustments at work are suggested (e.g. working reduced hours for a limited period). Therefore, you can demonstrate you are doing all you can to support your employee appropriately.

Where necessary, we can also help identify if the nature of an employees’ work might be having a detrimental effect on their health. That means advice can be provided to avoid any further deterioration.

What about occupational health assessments for mental health?

Mental health conditions can sometimes be difficult to manage in the workplace. Our team of doctors all have at least fifteen years’ experience and specialist experience in supporting complex psychological conditions.

What you need to know about the Equality Act 2010

When the Equality Act 2010 replaced the Disability Discrimination Act it brought a number of changes to management practices. You can now only ask questions about an employee’s health if it is directly related to their workplace role or duties.

That means that questions to occupational health should be related to capability. For example, “is the employee capable of working full days?”. Employers should avoid asking employees about the content of an occupational health assessment, other than the information provided in the report.

Employers can request a ‘fit note’ from a GP, although they may not provide much detail. However, you cannot demand to know about illness or specific conditions, even it causes absence from work.

Arranging an occupational health appointment will ensure you can manage risks, whilst fully complying with the Equality Act, moving you towards a successful return to work without risking breaking the law.

What occupational health advice can I receive?

Predicting how a health condition may develop (or how much time off work is likely) can be incredibly difficult. It is not an exact science. If surgery is anticipated, it is usually possible to give an estimate of typical or likely absence duration. Ill-health can often be a complicated issue and sometimes it can take time to get a clear answer and a resolution.

The content of the reports we provide following an assessment is linked with the questions asked at the start of the assessment process. We always offer guidance and support about the best questions to ask.

You’ll receive professional medical advice about whether the employee has a medical condition, or suggestions about how to support the employee and advice about how things may progress. We can’t take management decisions for you though, our advice is limited to professional medical opinions.

How long does it take to get an appointment?

We guarantee to offer you an appointment with one of our expert occupational health specialists within 2 days of a request. If you’d like to arrange a specific day or time to suit your employee, it can sometimes take a day or two longer.

How long does the assessment take?

To conduct a thorough assessment can take up to an hour. Reports are provided between 1 and 3 days after the appointment, depending upon the consent provided at the start. 

What is a referral form?

In order to give you and your employee the best advice, we need to understand the problem clearly. We’ll ask you to complete a referral form to provide all the information we need to conduct the assessment.

Sadly, we are unable to assess employees without a referral form being provided first. This is because we have to be able to demonstrate that we have acted fairly. You can learn more about our privacy policy at any time.

What will I get back from occupational health?

We’ll give you information that will help you to make decisions about an employee’s health-related problems. Our advice helps you comply with the law.

We can only answer the questions that you have asked of us in your referral form. Our reports are as detailed and comprehensive as possible. If asked in the referral, we’ll answer:

  • whether we think an individual is fit for the role outlined to us
  • if an underlying health condition is present or not
  • when an employer may expect an employee to return to work
  • recommendations regarding adjustments if we think the Equality Act may apply
  • suggestions for rehabilitation programmes

When will I receive the report?

Reports are provided between 1 and 3 days after an assessment, depending upon the consent provided at the start of the process. We are obliged to offer a copy of the report to an employee too. The questions you ask in the referral must also be shared with employees, if they’re requested.

Can an employee make changes to the report?

Employees can ask to see the report before it is sent to you, to check for factual inaccuracies. They can request that any factual mistakes are corrected. An employee cannot insist that we change our opinions.

There’s more about this topic in our guide to GP reports.

Can I discuss the case before the assessment?

You can discuss the history and background to the case before submitting a referral. That helps us to make sure we get the right clinician to support the case. We have to let the employee know if we’ve had any conversations about them.

We can’t discuss what happens during the assessment, or what’s likely to in our report. We will always complete a consent process with the employee. Please contact us for further information.

Can I discuss the case after the assessment?

We are happy to provide whatever help we can to explain our reports, for example, clarifying our advice or medical language.

To ensure we maintain our independence and impartiality, we can’t provide additional information (that’s not already contained in the report) without fully informed consent from the employee. Additional reporting (beyond clarifications) may attract additional fees.

What if an employee refuses consent?

Although we ask employees to sign a consent form, we cannot release the report without explicit informed consent. Consent can be retracted at any time. Very rarely, employees can refuse consent to release the report.

In these circumstances, you’re then able to make whatever business decisions you need to take based upon what you do know about the case. ACAS also has some useful information and guidance for employers too.

How much does an occupational health assessment cost?

We have different fees depending upon whether the assessment is conducted by a Nurse or a Doctor. Each referral includes a pre-assessment telephone and up to a 1 hour assessment. It also includes the compilation and provision of our report, professional opinions and all associated administration, scheduling, consent management and service.

We do provide preferential terms for charitable and educational bodies. Please contact us for our current professional fee schedule.

What if an employee misses the assessment?

We always to our very best to help and we will always try to accommodate any late changes. Regrettably, if the appointment is missed or cancelled on the day we still need to charge the full assessment fee. This is because we cannot reuse the time once it has been set aside for the appointment.

How do I book an assessment?

Just contact us at any time. We’ll always be very pleased to help.

About Occupational Health Assessment Ltd


Occupational Health Assessment Ltd provides rapid access to expert occupational health support for businesses across the United Kingdom.


With a unique occupational health assessment service, fitness certifications and access to clinics in Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Northampton, Nottingham, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Reading, Sheffield, Southampton, Stoke, Surrey and more, the business provides high quality, expert medical advice.


Please contact us for further information or assistance.

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