Medical check-ups and health assessments in working life

Medical check-ups and other health assessments, as provided for in the Swedish Work Environment Authority’s regulations, are based on specific factors in the work environment which can cause ill health or injury to workers.

What is the current situation regarding medical check-ups and health assessments?

Employers should at all times do everything possible to prevent workers from being exposed to ill health or injury. All working environments must therefore be subject to an assessment regarding the risks of ill health or injury.

Regulations on systematic occupational health and safety

Risks of ill health in the work environment should be eliminated as a matter of priority. If it is not possible to eliminate the risk completely, the employer must ensure that the risk is minimised as far as possible. If the employer has done everything possible to eliminate the risk, but the risk of ill health or injury still persists, it may be necessary to assess the worker’s health.

Please note that self-employed workers are subject to medical check-up rules, in accordance with AFS 2019:3, if they work with:

  • allergenic chemical products;
  • fibrosis-inducing dust;
  • metals.

Medical check-ups and health assessments may include interviews, questionnaires, physical examinations and taking samples. Medical check-ups may involve examinations by a doctor. The guidance documents for medical check-ups at work can be found here.

Guidance documents for medical check-ups at work (AFS 2019:3), (Swedish), regulations

The check-ups and assessments regulated by the Swedish Work Environment Authority should not be confused with general health checks carried out in many companies.

The purpose of medical check-ups and other health assessments

Medical check-ups and other health assessments can:

  • Detect early signs of ill health, illness or injury in workers, caused by the work environment.
  • Prevent ill health, illness or injury already suffered by workers from being aggravated by the work environment (for example, people with allergies working in an environment where there is a risk of new allergies).
  • Ensure that workers are sufficiently able – physically and mentally – to work under extreme pressure (for example, rescue work in smoke-filled or chemically contaminated conditions, climbing where there are a large height differences, or diving work).
  • Detect a health condition of a worker that increases the risk of injury or accident, such as great fatigue during night work, or impaired judgement or responsiveness of drivers of vehicles.
  • Protect employees around a certain worker from ill health or injury, which may occur as a result of ill health, illness or injury to the worker (for example, teamwork in a hazardous environment).
  • Play an educational role by highlighting risks in the work environment. The medical check-up provides an opportunity to inform employers and workers about techniques that can be used to prevent risks.
  • The employer receives feedback on how occupational health and safety functions in the workplace.

Aptitude report

For:

  • work with certain allergenic chemical products,
  • work with fibrosis-causing dust such as asbestos, certain inorganic fibres, quartz,
  • work with certain metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury,
  • physically strenuous work such as climbing with a large difference in height, immersion in smoke and chemicals, diving work,

workers must be of good enough health so that they are deemed to be able to cope with the increased risk of ill health or injury that the work entails.

Medical check-ups in accordance with AFS 2019:3 (Swedish)

The assessment is made in connection with a medical check-up. If the worker’s health is judged to be good enough, an aptitude report may be issued to the worker. A specifically qualified doctor makes the assessment and issues the aptitude report.

The specific qualifications that the doctor must have are stated in point 1 in the annexes to the regulations. Annex 5 contains additional skill requirements in point 2.

Regulations on medical check-ups at work (swedish)

If a worker has an aptitude report issued abroad, the employer must ensure that it corresponds to an aptitude report issued in Sweden. The Swedish Work Environment Authority does not assess the report until it becomes relevant in a permit-related or supervisory matter. The assessment is then based on the employer’s investigation.

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Last updated 2020-12-14