What does ‘fitness for work’ involve?
The concept of fitness for work is broad and deals with the relationship between a worker and their ability to do their role in the job safely and competently. This goes beyond qualifications and experience – fitness for work deals with ‘individual’ factors such as the effect of:
- alcohol and/or other drug use
- medical fitness (if required for a specific role)
- mental health and wellbeing
General duty of care
Both employers and workers have responsibilities in regard to fitness for work. The Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994 imposes general duty of care provisions to maintain safe and healthy workplaces at mines and protect people at work from hazards.
For a worker, there is a responsibility to:
- ensure their own safety and health at work (e.g. not turning up to work impaired by the consumption of alcohol)
- avoid negatively affecting the safety and health of others (e.g. poor decision making while under the influence of alcohol may put work colleagues at risk).
For an employer, there is a responsibility to:
- maintain a working environment in which, as far as is practicable, workers are not exposed to hazards (e.g. work arrangements are appropriate to manage fatigue).
Addressing fitness-for-work issues for an employer can be done through a systematic risk management process. It is recommended that workers and safety and health representatives are consulted during the process.
Minerals safety legislation expands on the concept of general duty of care and has supporting guidance material.
For guidance about individual fitness-for-work issues, see the web pages listed below: