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Physical Ability Testing

Is testing your potential hires worth the investment?

Let’s face it…you have to be competitive with your bids in business whether it’s for a government or private industry project.  Your workers—each and every one of them—contributes to the bottom line and your company’s success so there is an important checklist that should go into place with each worker you  consider hiring: they must have the experience to perform the work requested to complete the task whether it’s a welder, pipefitter, outside machinist or carpenter (they all play a vital role); they must be highly skilled in their trade and knowledgeable about the job; and—we can’t stress this enough—they must be physically able to perform the required tasks and work that their job requires.

Those of us in the field of physical therapy have experienced workers’ compensation injuries and the impact in dollars that it has when workers are not physically capable of performing their duties.  With workers’ compensation changes that dramatically impacted premiums, it is even more important to examine steps you can take to reduce costs and claims.  Consider that one workers’ compensation injury can develop into a claim that could completely eliminate the profit for an entire job.  Unfortunately, we see this happen far too often.  As an example, a work related knee injury can require  a simple arthroscopic knee surgery with costs  associated that include a physician’s evaluation-acute examination, specialist examination (Orthopedics) and recommendations, MRIs,  X- rays, surgery, rehabilitation, lost time experience, light duty transition, workers’ compensation benefit payout, hire or transfer replacement.  These costs ultimately result in an increase in workers’ compensation insurance premiums which can be managed and reduced with some practical steps.  We test athletes and our armed forces and police and firefighters all must pass a physical ability test to make sure they can do the job, play the position. Why should your workers be any different?

How can you make sure your workers can physically perform the job they have agreed to perform?  We recommend post-offer physical examinations combined with post-offer ability testing to help your company ensure the worker they hire can complete the job required of them and there is compelling research that shows that these tests can save your company money.

  • A study conducted at the University of Illinois showed a pre-work screen reduced injuries by 18.5%; cost benefit ratio of 18 dollars for every dollar spent. (1)
  • Harbin and Corbin (2) conducted a study in the food service industry where injuries were less severe and medical care costs of injuries were reduced $70,000 to $10,000 annually; lost work days were reduced from 700 to seven annually.
  • Gassoway & Flory (3) with pre-employment screening reported an injury reduction rate from 18.1% to 13.5% and a decrease in workers’ compensation costs was from $377 to $320 per employee.
  • Anderson & Briggs (4) concluded that workers with pre-employee screening had 47% less injuries. Employees who passed the test were 21% more likely to be employed eight weeks after hire.

There is much more research and data to support how testing potential employees before you hire them is of significant benefit.  Substantial cost savings for a company prescreening in any industry, especially when stipulations are in place such as job specificity, testing fairness, objectivity, and communicating to the medical and human resources departments regarding results will reduce the overall risk and profit for any given company.  Physical ability testing doesn’t just improve the health and safety of your workforce; it’s an investment that will produce cost results when working with an experienced provider.

Taylor Made Diagnostics works directly with Jeff Hartline, MPT, Certified FCE Evaluator, and Owner of Southeastern Physical Therapy (SPT) to develop testing components to meet the essential funtions of a position. SPT also specializes in the rehabilitation of injured workers in all industries. SPT is certified in performing Functional Capacity Evaluations and administrates the Return to Work program for may of TMD’s Employers. For more information, please contact Stella McClain, Operations Director at 757-560-7025 or via email at smcclain@tmd.bz. We look forward to working with you to “Protect the Health of Your Business.”