Crisis management - key employment issues

Tragic incidents such as the Glasgow bin lorry crash highlight the myriad of issues that an employer has to deal with in the wake of a major incident involving one of its employees; issues such as employment recruitment practices, health and safety and even criminal prosecutions typically have to be addressed.

One of the key employment issues arising out of the Glasgow bin lorry crash was that the driver of the vehicle had an undisclosed history of medical problems. Certainly the question of pre-employment medical checks is a vexed one and with the risk of disability discrimination if the wrong questions are asked for the wrong reasons, employers are understandably cautious.

This does not mean that medical checks cannot or should not be used. Ascertaining someone’s fitness to carry out a role requires an assessment of their physical and mental capability, especially where the role is high risk or could potentially have an impact on the health and safety of others.

This has been recognised for some time in areas such as manufacturing and engineering where employees may be working with heavy machinery or chemicals. For jobs with a less pronounced requirement for physical exertion or less obvious risk medical checks typically involve only a basic questionnaire asking for disclosure of any medical condition.

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This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.


Employment law moves at a fast pace. Keeping up to date with changes and developments is a challenge for every HR professional, helps you keep ahead of the game, plan for change and provides tools for solving those workplace dilemmas.


Joanne Frew


I am a Director in the Employment team, specialising in both contentious and non-contentious employment issues and employment law training.