Health checks are a part of preventive occupational health care. They support and promote the employee's work ability and health, taking into account the requirements of working life. The health checks reveal work-related health risks and hazards, but also examine, assess and monitor the employees' health and work ability.
There are two types of health checks: statutory health checks - which are based on occupational health care legislation and other rules and regulations - and voluntary checks. Statutory health checks may be required due to the health risks posed by a particular job, specific health requirements of a job, or due to the health and safety issues of a special branch (e.g. transport), for example. Voluntary health checks include e.g. those for specific age groups and voluntary health checks for new employees. The content of the statutory health checks is determined by the work-specific risk factor. The content of voluntary health checks is planned in conjunction with the employer. The checks are carried out by occupational health nurses, doctors, physiotherapists and psychologists.
The occupational health checks focus on identifying and influencing factors which threaten one's work ability, but also address risk factors for major ailments such as cardiovascular diseases. The goal is to measure an individual's health status and to gather information about his/her living habits, job, working environment and work community. Special attention is paid to the impact of work on the individual's well-being. According to the gathered information, the person will be given advice and guidance in relevant areas of health and well-being. The measures taken may also involve changes in working conditions.
Statutory health checks are carried out e.g. to assess whether a new employee meets the health requirements, in case the work poses particular health risks; to identify work-related health impact and diseases; to monitor disabilities; to assess the work ability of the personnel; and sometimes in conjunction with long-term illnesses. In these cases, the goal is also to assess the client's health status and to provide focused advice and guidance according to the information acquired.
The information gathered from the health checks can be used as a basis to foster an employee's work ability and health through advice and guidance. The check can be the first step to a permanent change in lifestyle, which will eventually increase well-being at work as well. Work ability and safety problems as well as health risk factors can be addressed early on. The checks may also provide group-level information about problems in the work community and thus help tackle these at an early stage. Employees generally value the opportunity to find out more about their state of health.