Q&A - Can you insist that a job applicant undergoes a medical examination?

You are looking for a new employee, possibly but not necessarily for a physically demanding job. To be on the safe side, you would like all candidates to undergo a medical examination. But is this allowed? 

In short

A prior health assessment is legally required for safety functions, functions that involve increased vigilance and high-risk activities.

In all other circumstances you may not request medical information from an applicant and a medical examination is therefore out of the question.

Are you allowed to send a job applicant for a medical examination?

Generally speaking, the answer to this question is no. Any health problems that may affect an employee or candidate fall under medical confidentiality. Employers are not entitled to this information. What’s more, to turn someone down because of health problems is a form of discrimination.

Exceptions are made for jobs that entail a high health risk. There are three categories of jobs that oblige employees to undergo a compulsory medical examination during the final stage of the recruitment process.


This category includes all jobs where an employee could endanger themselves or others, such as jobs that involve handling a service weapon or operating machinery such as cranes, overhead cranes, hoisting equipment or a forklift truck.

2. Jobs requiring increased vigilance

This category covers jobs where carelessness could have major consequences and endanger colleagues’ health and safety. Examples include workers in the control room of a chemical plant or operators of complex, computer-controlled installations.

3. High-risk activities

Do your employees work with dangerous chemical substances? Or do they come into contact with noise, vibrations, ionising radiation or infectious diseases? If so, a prior health assessment is required by law. This category also includes jobs that are very taxing on the back as well as mentally demanding occupations, such as night work.

What about employees already in your employment? When is a medical examination possible or mandatory for them?

Medical examinations are not only mandatory for job applicants. Medical supervision is also required for workers in specific situations. An employee may also request a medical examination on their own initiative.

1. Regular checks

Employees whose job entails a health risk are required to undergo medical surveillance on an annual basis or more frequently. This concerns the domains mentioned above: safety-related jobs, jobs requiring increased vigilance and high-risk activities. A risk analysis determines the frequency of the examination.

2. Returning to work

Has an employee in a safety, vigilance or high-risk position been absent for more than 4 consecutive weeks? If so, a medical check-up is mandatory within 10 days of their return to work.

3. A new job with new risks

A medical examination may be required if an employee within your company changes jobs. Once more, this pertains to safety functions, jobs requiring increased vigilance and high-risk activities.

4. Spontaneous

Employees can always pay a spontaneous visit to an occupational physician if they have physical or mental complaints related to their job.

Mensura will help you develop a targeted approach.

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