Pre-employment medicals are key to a safe and healthy workforce. In the case of the transportation industry, their absence poses a clear and present danger. Drivers of all sorts are vulnerable to workplace injury and fatality because of the long hours spent alone on the road.

Between 2003 to 2016, 3,414 Australian workers died at work.

According to Safe Work Australia, the transportation industry had the highest number of worker fatalities over a ten-year span, preceding agriculture, construction, manufacturing, and mining industries. 64% of all worker fatalities in Australia involved vehicles, 45% of which were vehicle collisions on public roads.


Visual from Work Safe Australia: Worker fatalities by industry.

💡 The construction industry has the third highest number of worker fatalities. Learn more about the importance of pre-employment medical assessments for construction workers.

When on the job, drivers must be able to:

  • Remain focused at all times
  • Handle long hours
  • Maintain attention day or night
  • Monitor their own fatigue and know their limits
  • Remain calm during stressful situations

Pre-employment medicals benefit both employees and employers in a number of ways. For the transportation industry, keeping your workforce safe and healthy is vitally important for your workers and those who share the roads with them. Continue reading to learn more about pre-employment medicals as well as how driver assessments, physical and mental health checks, vision assessments, and drug and alcohol screenings can mitigate risks on the road.

What is a Pre-Employment Medical?

Pre-employment medicals manage workplace risk by ensuring employees are able to meet the physical and mental demands of a job. Assessments are arranged and paid for by the employer to manage health and safety risks and to safeguard the long-term health of the business.

Pre-employment medical assessments are crucial to maintaining the safety and wellness of any workforce. They measure the suitability of a potential employee to the specific role, so employers can find the right fit for their company. They also help businesses determine how they can best accommodate the new hires.

The health and safety of your workforce should be a top priority, no matter what the industry, and that begins at the hiring phase. The type of pre-employment medical assessments performed varies based on the industry and the specific demands of the job.

A pre-employment medical may include:

  • Driving assessments
  • Drug and alcohol screenings
  • Hearing tests
  • Vision tests
  • General fitness tests

WHA offers comprehensive pre-employment medical assessments supported by a proprietary software program that manages the entire medical from booking to processing to delivering your results. Learn more about our pre-employment medical services available at our facilities across Australia and New Zealand, or on-site for your convenience.

Transportation Industry Pre-Employment Medical Assessments
Driver Assessments

Medical assessments keep roadways safe while improving the wellbeing of a workforce.

Drivers of commercial and private vehicles, heavy vehicles, and dangerous goods have a legal responsibility to take care and manage their own health. Driver assessments test for sensory, cognitive, and motor function abilities to ensure a driver meets the necessary requirements of their job.

In the driving assessment portion of a pre-employment medical, certain tests are mandatory.

  • Fitness to Drive test is required for all drivers of commercial and private vehicles.
  • Dangerous Goods Driver medical examination is required for drivers of dangerous goods.

Driving assessments help ensure the safety of drivers and the community around them.

WHA offers driver assessments including required Fitness to Drive and Dangerous Goods Driver Medicals. These assessments are available at our facilities across Australia and New Zealand or on-site for your convenience.

Physical and Mental Fitness

Pre-employment medical assessments ensure workers are physically and mentally prepared for the job, identifying current and future health risks. As drivers are at risk whenever they are on the road or operating a motor vehicle, pre-employment and ongoing medical assessments are potentially life-saving for the driver and for those around them on the road— drivers, pedestrians and other road users.

So, it’s safe to say mental fitness is crucial for workers in the transportation industry. Drivers, especially those working long hours alone, need to be mentally fit for their job. They need to maintain composure at all times even when under stress and need to be able to listen to their own bodies. A fatigued driver is a danger to themselves and others.

Driving while sleepy can have negative effects akin to driving while intoxicated. Being awake for 18 hours makes you drive like you have a blood alcohol level of .05 and being awake for 24 hours is similar to a blood alcohol level of .10. In Australia, a driver’s blood alcohol level cannot legally exceed .05.

Protect your employees and the community by ensuring anyone who drives for your business is up to the task.

Vision Assessments

A vision assessment determines if a prospective employee’s eyesight is up to the standards demanded by the role. A transportation worker must see clearly to maintain safety while on the road. Heavy vehicle drivers, such as truck drivers, who need to work at night must maintain healthy vision for the safety of themselves and other drivers on the road.

The National Road Safety Partnership Program (NRSPP) says that “90% of a driver’s reaction depends on vision, and our vision is greatly impacted in low light” and “40% of all crashes occur at night time.”


Pre-employment vision tests ensure an employee can meet the job requirements while setting a baseline level of vision. Through ongoing medical assessments, employers can monitor a driver’s vision to detect any deterioration or health concerns that need to be addressed.

Drug and Alcohol Screening

Any dependence on recreational drugs or alcohol can present risks on the road. Drug and alcohol screening programs benefit the long-term health and wellness of a business.

Drug and alcohol screenings can include instant screening, instant machine screening, and laboratory screening. Drug and alcohol screenings test for illicit drugs such as:

  • Cannabis
  • Methamphetamines
  • Amphetamines
  • Opiates
  • Cocaine
  • Benzodiazepines

Any driver is an operator of a dangerous piece of machinery. In Australia, during 2018, there were 1,145 road deaths. It’s estimated that 30% of fatal crashes in Australia are due to drunk driving.

It is crucial that drivers keep their focus when operating a motor vehicle for the safety of themselves and those around them. Screening for drugs and alcohol in the transportation industry provides an indication on whether employees are fit for the role and enables employees to be healthy and attentive whenever they’re on the road.

WHA offers a number of drug and alcohol screening services at our facilities across Australia and New Zealand or on-site for your convenience.

Additional Employer Benefits

Beyond the health and safety benefits, pre-employment medicals increase the morale of a workplace and illustrate that you care about the physical and mental health of your workforce.

Pre-employment medical assessments:

  • Attract top talent
  • Help businesses find the best-matched candidates
  • Increase workplace morale and loyalty
  • Minimise long-term absenteeism from injury or illness
  • Help businesses meet health and safety goals
  • Improve public corporate image
  • Save a company money long-term

💡 Learn more about The Importance of Pre-Employment Medicals and Employer Benefits.

Ongoing Employee Health Checks

Don’t stop there. Pre-employment medicals are only the first step in maintaining a safe and healthy workforce on the road.

An employee health check can be life-saving for any industry where the risk of injury and death is high. Employee health checks account for a range of check-ups that can identify any new health risks that arise during a candidate’s employ. Routine employee health checks make sure your drivers are safe and healthy on and off the road for the duration of their employment.

Providing ongoing on-site health checks:

  • Supports an aging workforce
  • Illustrates a business’ investment in employees
  • Reduces employee downtime from illness or injury
  • Reduces workers’ compensation/WorkCover claims
  • Reduces insurance costs
  • Helps retain talent

💡 Learn more by reading The Importance of Employee Health Checks.

Continue Supporting Your Workforce

Numerous studies have linked sedentary lifestyles to a higher risk of health problems. Learn How To Reduce Sedentary Behaviour at Work.

Hiring the wrong employee comes at a huge cost to employers. Before your next hiring decision, read these 10 Things to Consider in Your Next Hire.

Workforce Health Assessors offers comprehensive pre-employment medical, pre-placement, and periodic medical assessments tailored to the needs of your business. We organise, perform, and report on all health assessments and medicals to help you determine the suitability of candidates and to mitigate workplace risks. Our assessments are tailored to each business and vary depending on the specifications of the role a candidate will fill. Learn more about our pre-employment medical and driver assessment services.

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