Work-related injuries are on a rise lately. When employees incur an injury in their workplace, it could mean huge costs for the employer. Workplace injuries cost employers around $1.2 trillion worth of losses annually due to employee health and productivity issues. For this reason, employers have now focused on reducing the incidence of workplace related injuries.
In order to reduce work-related injuries, employers are now utilizing functional employment testing. These tests are designed to match the physical capabilities of new hires with the demands of their potential jobs. Functional capacity testers at WorkSTEPS understand the importance of creating a medically safe, legally compliant, scientific and objective means of matching an employee’s functional capabilities with the essential functions of their job.
Functional employment testing has been in use since World War II in order to efficiently use the pool of workers available in the US working for the war to effectively place them in appropriate jobs. These tests can be done separately or combined with pre-employment medicals. Functional employment testing not only help safely place new hires in jobs but also monitor their progress throughout recovery from an injury and illness as well as establish vocational counseling and planning.
In addition, these types of tests help determine two things: 1) whether the prospective employee can perform essential job functions with or without accommodation and 2) whether they represent a direct threat to themselves or other people. Functional employment testing requires a careful analysis of the job to be tested. The components of the test must be tailored to the specific work setting. For the job to be valid, it should represent the applicant’s ability to perform the job.
Certain employment practices have already been ruled as invalid as they failed to measure important job behaviors. For instance, using height and weight as a criteria for employment has been deemed illegal. If fitness tests are incorporated into pre-employment screenings, then it should demonstrate that fitness is related to job performance.