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health questionnaire for night workers
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Health questionnaire for night workers

Health questionnaire for night workers

All night workers are legally entitled to a free health assessment before starting night work and then at regular intervals. Ask your night workers to complete our health questionnaire on an annual basis. It’s aimed at establishing whether the worker suffers from a health condition which might be affected by night working. If their answers raise doubts about their fitness for night work, refer them to a doctor for a health assessment. You must keep records adequate to show that you’re complying with the free health assessment provisions.

Statutory requirement

Under the Working Time Regulations 1998, adult workers shouldn’t be assigned to night work unless they’ve had the opportunity of a free health assessment beforehand. Thereafter, you then need to ensure that night workers are offered a free health assessment at “regular intervals of whatever duration may be appropriate”. As this wording is rather vague, we suggest you offer them at least annually. With young workers, the offer of a free assessment goes a bit further as the assessment must be of their “health and capacities”, i.e. considering additional matters such as their physique, experience and maturity. The Regulations don’t actually define what a health assessment must involve. What is clear though is that you only need to allow workers an opportunity to have it - they can decline it if they don’t want it.

Night worker

An adult night worker is someone who works for at least three hours of their working time during night time on the majority of their shifts or does so as a normal course. Night time itself includes the period between midnight and 5.00am and is at least seven hours. If there’s no collective or workforce agreement in place defining night time, it will be the period between 11.00pm and 6.00am. The night work rules are different for young workers.

Health questionnaire

The starting point is to ask your night workers to complete an initial health questionnaire form. This is where our Health Questionnaire for Night Workers comes in. The purpose of the health assessment is to determine whether the worker is fit to work at night, as the risks arising from workplace hazards may be greater, particularly if the worker suffers from a medical condition such as diabetes, a heart or chronic chest disorder, a stomach or intestinal disorder or any condition which causes difficulties sleeping. So our questionnaire asks them to tick to confirm whether they have any of several listed conditions. There’s also a catch-all box at the end for any other health factors that might affect fitness to work.

Health assessment

Once a worker has completed the questionnaire, you can review it to assess whether they can work nights or not and there’s a box at the end of the form for you to complete. However, as you’re not medically qualified, if their answers raise any doubts about their fitness for night work, refer them to a doctor for a follow-up medical examination. You should explain to the doctor what type of night work the worker is undertaking and you’ll have to pay for the examination as “free” means exactly that - it must be at no cost to the worker.

Disclosure

If the conclusion of the doctor is that the worker is fit to undertake night work, a statement to that effect may be communicated to you. Otherwise, the assessment should remain confidential and no information derived from it should be passed to you without the worker’s consent.

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