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This policy document is currently under review to reflect The Australian National University Enterprise Agreement 2023-2026, which came into effect on 5 December 2023. Until this has been reviewed, the new Enterprise Agreement will take precedence over the provisions outlined in this document.

Policy: Fitness for work


This policy is intended to articulate the approach of the Australian National University to its workers and their fitness for work.


The University is committed to providing a safe and healthy place of work, and to ensuring the fitness for work of its workers while they are on duty.


This policy applies to all workers (including contractors), students and visitors across the University.


Fitness for work is when an individual is in a state (physically and psychologically) to perform tasks assigned to them competently and in a manner which does not compromise the safety and health of themselves or others.

On duty refers to a worker undertaking duties and responsibilities associated with their contract of employment or contract of service.

A Worker is defined as anyone who carries out work for the University. A worker includes staff, volunteers, contractors, students and visitors at the University.

Policy statement

  1. The University is committed to providing a safe and healthy place of work for its staff and others in the workplace. This commitment extends to the University’s obligation as an employer under the Workplace Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth). A primary responsibility of the University is to facilitate effective management of risk relating to employee fitness for work.
  2. The University has a responsibility for the provision of a safe, healthy, and productive workplace. Each individual has a responsibility to maintain their personal ‘fitness for work’. University staff are required to attend work in a physical and psychological condition that enables them to perform their work duties in a safe, efficient and productive manner. For people living with disability, safe and competent performance may be achieved with the provision of reasonable adjustments as prescribed under the relevant Disability Discrimination Legislation, the ANU Disability Policy, the Management of Non Work Related Illness and Injury procedure and the Return to Work procedure.
  3. The University is committed to the following preventative measures to reduce the risk of work related injury and illness:
  • perform health assessments where a risk assessment has identified them as necessary;
  • facilitate access to health and fitness programs;
  • facilitate timely provision of reasonable adjustments for people living with disability as per the ANU Disability policy and other relevant Return to Work procedures;
  • facilitate access to Employee Assistance Programs; and
  • improve education and awareness in how to promote and maintain fitness for work.
  1. The University is committed to the following measures:
  • pre-employment screening;
  • ongoing health monitoring where required by legislation or appropriate as best practice; and
  • formal support and assistance in safely managing situations where an assessment of risk in a workplace has occurred and there is an unacceptably high risk to a person’s safety from a lack of fitness for work, or an unacceptable risk to others in the workplace.

Leadership and culture

  1. The University aims to promote excellence in health and safety leadership and a positive culture of fitness for work through:
  • determining, in consultation with workers, appropriate strategies and programs to achieve improvements in fitness for work; encouraging, supporting and promoting strategies and programs aimed at improving and maintaining fitness for work;
  • integrating health, safety and wellbeing into all aspects of the University’s business;
  • ensuring the University’s fitness for work procedures are reviewed regularly ;
  • ensuring confidentiality when managing fitness for work; and
  • ensuring workers and supervisors have the necessary resources, skills and knowledge to achieve improved fitness for work.


  1. Executive: provide leadership to ensure communication and effective implementation of this policy.
  2. Senior Managers: support managers and supervisors in fulfilling their responsibilities and accountabilities.
  3. Supervisors: take reasonable actions to monitor the fitness for work of workers within their responsibility. Where a worker does not meet the minimum requirements of fitness for work, ensure that a review is undertaken and reasonable adjustments are considered for the worker to allow for their continued safe participation in work. It is noted that reasonable adjustments within the workplace may not be able to be implemented and a worker can be directed to vacate the workplace if there is an unacceptably high risk to the worker or any other person’s safety.
  4. Workers: take reasonable care for their own safety and the safety of others as well as comply with any reasonable instruction, policy or procedure of the University in relation to fitness for work. It is the responsibility of the individual to maintain their personal ‘fitness for work’, disclose any factors affecting their fitness for work and to accept reasonable direction from their supervisor regarding reasonable adjustments. Staff and contractors must not attend campus if unwell. If they become unwell when on an ANU campus, they shall inform their supervisor and then go home with as little personal interaction with others as possible.


Printable version (PDF)
Title Fitness for work
Document Type Policy
Document Number ANUP_014609
Purpose This policy is intended to articulate the approach of the Australian National University to its workers and their fitness for work.
Audience Staff
Category Administrative
Topic/ SubTopic Health, Safety & Environment - Occupational Health & Safety
Effective Date 3 Nov 2020
Next Review Date 30 Jun 2024
Responsible Officer: Chief People Officer
Approved By: Vice-Chancellor
Contact Area Human Resources Division
Authority: Work Health & Safety Act 2011
Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011
Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988
Delegations 0

Information generated and received by ANU staff in the course of conducting business on behalf of ANU is a record and should be captured by an authorised recordkeeping system. To learn more about University records and recordkeeping practice at ANU, see ANU recordkeeping and Policy: Records and archives management.