Employee health screening (or ‘lifestyle assessment’) can be used to help identify potential risk factors for future poor health and areas to focus on in order to optimise wellbeing. As an organisation’s employees are its most important asset, it makes sense to do what can be done to detect illness, where possible, and to promote a healthy lifestyle. Keeping employees healthy and productive arguably makes sound financial sense – in 2013, around 131 million working days were lost through absences due to sickness or injury (an average of 4.4 days per worker per year).
Health screening/lifestyle assessment usually comprises a combination of tests such as blood pressure reading, cholesterol tests and lifestyle analysis (e.g. alcohol intake, smoking habits, physical activity etc.) which aim to give the individual an overview of their current health status and help detect disease or risk factors early so that a referral can be made to the individual’s GP for onward management. This is important as people may be aware that they have health issues but have not been tested to determine the risk that these problems may potentially present to their health.
Employee health screening (lifestyle assessment) offers a variety of benefits both for organisations and the individuals who work for them, including:
- reduced sickness absence levels;
- improved productivity;
- improved morale and loyalty amongst employees, particularly as health screening demonstrates that employers care about their staff and are dedicated to helping them stay healthy.
Common health screening tests include:
- Blood glucose levels.
- Blood pressure and pulse rate analysis.
- Cholesterol testing.
- Vision screening.
- Lung function tests.
- ECG (to detect abnormal heart rhythms and investigate the cause of chest pains).
- Height, weight and body mass index (BMI) tests.
- Health and lifestyle interviews including discussion of family history of health issues.
For advice on work-related health issues, take a look at the Fit for Work website, or call the free telephone advice line on 0800 032 6235 (English) or 0800 032 6233 (Welsh).
 Source: Office for National Statistics, Sickness Absence in the Labour Market (February 2014)