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Medical Assessments

A medical assessment is a whole body assessment of a worker and is performed by a medical practitioner. The purpose of a medical assessment is to identify any health issues which may affect a worker’s ability to safely perform a job role.

Medical assessments can be used prior to a worker’s employment to identify a preferred candidate’s suitability for the intended job role; or periodically throughout employment to monitor a worker’s health. A medical assessment is integral to evaluating occupational risk before employing a worker, and also forms part of a robust risk management process in work industries where workers are exposed to harmful biological or environmental factors.

All medical assessments involve a detailed examination of occupational history and medical history, as well as a multi-system clinical examination of the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Based on employer requirements, a medical assessment may be accompanied by:

  • drug and alcohol testing;
  • audiometry;
  • spirometry;
  • psychological screening;
  • diagnostic procedures;
  • electrocardiogram (ECG);
  • vision screening; and
  • functional capacity evaluation (FCE).

In addition, particular work industries may regulate employers to complete specific medical assessment processes including:

  • category 1, 2 and 3 medicals for rail industry;
  • aviation license medical;
  • commercial driver’s licence medical;
  • special equipment licence medical (including forklift and crane operators); and
  • confined space medical.

Following a medical assessment, an employer will be provided with a report that details a worker’s medical history, clinical examination findings and whether any work restrictions or limitations apply in relation to the job role.

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Sprains and Strains

Sprains and strains account for 52% of all workers compensation claims in South Australia and have an average claim cost of $20,683.90 (ReturnToWorkSA 2018). A sprain refers to damage to a ligament, the white sinewy tissue that connect bones to bones and have a key function in joint stability. A strain refers to damage to a muscle, the red fibrous tissue that contracts and moves our joints. Muscles have better blood flow than ligaments and as such muscle strains are generally less severe and recover faster than ligament sprains.

The degree of tissue damage in a sprain or a strain is graded on a 1 to 3 scale with lower grade injuries being less severe than higher grade injuries (see table below).

In the workplace sprains and strains can occur with a sudden onset or a gradual onset. The mechanisms of injury include:

  • slips, trips and falls;
  • performing manual work tasks with unsafe technique;
  • working in sustained or poor ergonomic work postures; and
  • body stressing through repetitive work tasks.

As the most prevalent form of workplace injury, it is important that employers assist with the prevention of sprains and strains in the workplace. This can be done by:

  • maintaining safe work practices;
  • regular manual task safety training that includes targeted exercises related to tasks; and
  • facilitating early intervention for workers who identify with gradual onset pain in the workplace.

For more information on these injury prevention services contact CHG.

Meet CHG’s Director of Medical Services

Dr Thang Vuong is CHG’s Director of Medical Services. Dr Vuong is a graduate of Adelaide University who has decades of experience working in occupational medicine. From delivering expert medical management of workplace injuries, to collaborating with employers, Dr Vuong is adept at developing effective solutions to keep workers healthy and safe in the workplace. Dr Vuong has held positions as the onsite medical officer for numerous manufacturers, and medical advisor for several government departments. Dr Vuong is intimately aware of the relationships that form between the medical practitioner, injured worker, employer and claims agent, and works tirelessly to ensure the best outcomes are achieved.

In addition to operational management of CHG’s medical team, Dr Vuong provides injury management and medical assessment services, including category medicals for the rail industry from CHG@103.

Dr Thang Vuong - Director of Medical Services

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    A CHG Case study
    Pre-employment Medical Assessments

    CHG partners with employers across South Australia in delivering pre-employment solutions. A pre-employment medical assessment is an ideal method of addressing occupational risk. CHG take care in tailoring their pre-employment medical assessments to match the requirements of an employer. By ensuring preferred candidates are suitable for the intended job role prior to employment, CHG medical assessments have been able to reduce injuries in new workers, and save employers money.

    CHG client data indicates that in the 2018FY, those employers who implemented a CHG medical assessment as part of their pre-employment process had a 28% reduction in injuries to new workers. With the addition of a functional capacity evaluation combined with the medical assessment there was a 57% reduction in injuries to new workers.

    By reducing injuries to new workers, employers benefited from a return on investment of $9.50 for every $1 spent
    on a CHG pre-employment solution
    in the 2018FY.

    CHG delivers pre-employment medical assessments from all three clinics; CHG@103, CHG@Gillman, and CHG@Elizabeth Vale. For more information on pre-employment solutions, contact CHG.