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June/July 2007 (vol. 04/1)

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Research Plus

Fitness for work

Assessment of fitness for work is an essential element of OH practice, yet there are few or no validated criteria or recommendations on how to do it. A systematic review of papers published between 1966 and 2005 identified 39 publications that met the inclusion criteria. Only eight papers described original research with just one randomised controlled trial. Twelve of the reports referred to specific occupational groups, often for safety-sensitive work. The authors conclude that the effectiveness of fitness-for-work examinations is rarely evaluated; the scientific evidence on which fitness-for-work criteria are based is ‘very scarce’ and largely empirical. They attribute this to the lack of ‘standard or valid methodologies for all professions and circumstances’. Evidence-based guidelines are urgently needed, they say.

Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2007; 64; 304–312.

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Occupational Health at Work June/July 2007 (vol. 04/1) pp39