Workplace Wellness

Ultimate Guide to Employee Health Screenings & How to Use Them (Free Template Included)

Written by Kate

Employee health screenings are an important element of workplace wellbeing. They are an effective way for a company to spot any potential health issues and provide employees with the information and support they need to maintain or improve their health.

When implemented effectively, employee health screenings can help to create a more productive and engaged workforce, reduce absenteeism and improve the overall health and wellbeing of your organization.

Read on to learn more about this topic! Click on the sections below to jump right to your specific question.

What are Employee Health Screenings?

Employee health screenings are health assessments which evaluate the wellbeing of the individual. Regular health screenings not only protect physical health but also help your staff feel psychologically safe at work. They are a useful way to limit the transmission of illnesses, and since the pandemic, coronavirus screenings have been included as an important part of most employee wellness programs.

Employers sometimes request health screenings with a conditional job offer. Types of health screening will vary but they can include physical exams, blood tests, medical questionnaires, psychological tests, drug and alcohol tests or biometric screening tests (e.g. weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, height). These tests help to identify any potential health risks or issues and provide employees with the information and support they need to maintain or improve their health. 

What do Managers use Employee Health Screenings for?

Employee health screenings can be used by employers to look for potential health risks that could impact the way they do their job. For example, if a candidate is applying to work in a warehouse they may need a health screening to ensure they can carry heavy items without causing further damage to an existing injury. If a potential health risk is flagged in an employee health screening, they could cause damage to themselves and other members of the team when heavy lifting, so they will need extra support in this area.

Employee health screenings are also great for helping managers have a better understanding of their employees’ health and ensuring they have the support they need to improve this. By identifying hazards early on they can work to improve employee health, help to manage the costs associated with healthcare claims and reduce absenteeism overall. Employers use health screenings in order to strategically minimize costs associated with proactive, and reactive care.

Some industries will also require specific tests in order to assess whether the candidate will be able to fulfill the role. A firefighter will have to take fitness tests including strength, stamina and speed to demonstrate their ability to react in an emergency. 

What are the 8 different types of Employee Health Screenings?

The types of employee health screenings that are carried out will depend on the goals and aims of the organization. Some of the tests might include:

  1. Blood tests: Blood tests can help to assess many different areas of health including measuring cholesterol, vitamins and glucose. 
  2. Biometric screenings: In a biometric screening, a health professional will carry out a physical exam to measure biometric data including height, weight, pulse and body mass index (BMI). Check out this post to learn more about biometric screenings:
  1. Health questionnaires: Health questionnaires will assess the lifestyle habits of an individual, taking into account things like diet, exercise, mental health and stress levels. 
  2. Vision and hearing tests: Vision and hearing tests can help identify whether hearing aids or corrective lenses might be required. 
  3. Substance abuse tests: Substance abuse tests can detect the presence of drugs or alcohol in an individual’s system. These are often carried out in compliance with regulations in safety-sensitive industries.  
  4. Immunization tests: Immunization tests will help assess whether an individual has been vaccinated against certain diseases and spot any potential exposure risks.
  5. Temperature screening checks: In the years since the pandemic, it’s become commonplace for offices to have temperature screening checks at the office door. One of the most common COVID symptoms is fever or chills, so this is a useful way to identify if an employee is showing any signs of coronavirus.
  6. Cleaning stations: Health screenings include setting up a cleaning station and ensuring that employees use hand sanitizer or wash their hands before stepping into the building or after touching equipment such as door handles, printers, or coffee machines.

What is typically included in Employee Health Screenings?

The specific elements of an employee health screening will vary based on the employer and the needs of the organization. A physical job will involve more physical fitness screenings, whereas a more psychologically challenging job such as a therapist might have more of a focus on mental health and stress. Someone who works as a police officer or operates machinery might have assessments testing for drug and alcohol use.

Basic employee health screening programmes will be more light touch and assess things like BMI, height, weight, cholesterol and blood pressure. More advanced screenings will go beyond this, looking into medical history and mental health assessments. The tests that are included in an employee health screening will vary depending on whether an employer opts for a basic screening package or a more comprehensive and advanced programme.

Legal guidelines will vary based on where the company is located but there are some key legal guidelines to keep in mind when considering employee health screenings. These include: 

  1. Discrimination

Employers should not use employee health screenings as a means of discrimination. They are unable to deny employment opportunities or benefits based on an individual’s health status. 

It’s discrimination to ask prospective employees to take a screening test that aims to detect disabilities, chronic illnesses, mental health or physical ailments. It would also be discrimination to take away a conditional job offer based on existing medical conditions, disability or chronic illnesses

Employers can however ask applicants to undergo a pre-employment assessment designed to assess the job responsibilities. It’s important to consider the design of the test and your intent by asking employees to take it. 

A prospective police officer might need to take a physical test before being hired. The test must incorporate duties that a police officer would reasonably need to complete such as a short sprint or lifting a certain amount of weight, rather than a general test intended to uncover underlying health issues. 

  1. Confidentiality

Any information gathered through employee health screenings is protected information and must be kept confidential and in line with any privacy laws and regulations. 

  1. Consent

Employers must inform employees of the purpose and scope of the screenings and keep them up to date on any benefits or potential risks. They must also obtain informed consent from employees before conducting any health screenings. 

  1. Compliance and regulations

Employers must comply with any regulations and laws relating to health and safety, privacy and discrimination when conducting employee health screenings. 

  1. Recordkeeping

Employers need to keep up-to-date records of employee health screenings and ensure these records are kept confidential. 

How to Implement an Employee Health Screening Program

Implementing an employee health screening program can be a complex process, but it can be made easier using programs such as CompleteHealth which can help you set up your screenings. Here are some easy steps to follow to implement a successful program.

  1. Define your goals and objectives

Set out what you want to achieve by implementing employee health screenings and what health risks you want to address. This will help you understand what sort of screening tests you are looking to include and what information you will need to gather. 

  1. Consult with healthcare professionals

It’s best to work with health professionals to ensure you carry out appropriate tests for your employees. Work with them to put together a protocol for carrying the screenings out. 

  1. Develop a screening program

Based on the advice of healthcare professionals and your business goals, develop a screening program including specific tests and procedures for collecting and storing health information. 

  1. Communicate with employees

Speak to your employees and let them know about your goals for the business and how employee health screenings will help. Explain what information you will gather and how it will be used so that the team can make an informed decision. It’s important to reiterate that these programs are completely voluntary and all data will be used confidentially.

Communicate openly the importance of the health screening process with your employees. Arrange meetings and help them understand how it will help their health and wellbeing. You don’t want your employees to feel anxious or stressed – so adopt a human, positive approach and help them understand that it’s a win-win for everyone.

  1. Implement the screening program

Begin the program, making sure that employees understand how they can participate. Provide support and resources to them to help them complete the screenings and understand the results that are provided.

  1. Evaluate the program

Make sure to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of the health screening programs and make adjustments if necessary. This might involve altering the types of tests you offer, the frequency of screenings or the way information is collected and analyzed. 

  1. Ensure you are protecting employee privacy 

It is vital that any health data gathered is kept confidential. Ensure that any employee health data you have is used solely to protect and promote employee health and wellbeing. 

Closing Thoughts

Employee health screenings are an important aspect of workplace wellness. They provide organizations with the data they need to understand their employees, promote employee health, improve productivity, reduce absenteeism and create a more engaged workforce. 

An easy way to begin implementing employee health screenings is to use a solution such as CompleteHealth that can help employers set up employee health screenings, as well as a robust wellness program that will improve employee health. By implementing a comprehensive employee health screening program, companies can ensure their workforce is healthy and that employees feel valued and supported.

Corporate Wellness Benefit Managers having a discussion while looking at an electronic tablet.

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