Partnering with Employers to Offer Pre-Employment Physical Exams

Partnering with Employers to Offer Pre-Employment Physical Exams

Pre-employment physical exams are becoming increasingly common, particularly in businesses within manufacturing, distribution, and trucking, that need to ensure their applicants can perform the physical demands of the job. Specifically, what this means is an employer can make an applicant’s job offer conditional upon that individual passing a physical exam. These exams focus on orthopedic and placement-relevant issues such as surgical scars, restricted range of motion, deformities, pain or weakness.

Reducing Risks While Saving Costs

An easy way to avoid preventable problems is to administer pre-employment physical exams. It’s also important to recognize that the exams are not just about the prospective hire, but everyone that person will interact with. By ensuring the applicant can perform the work that’s required, pre-employment physical exams also help make the work environment safer for all employees.

“The General Duty Clause of the OSHA Act requires employers to maintain a safe working environment for all workers. Therefore, safe placement is necessary to protect both the patient and their co-workers,” says John J. Koehler, M.D., Director of Occupational Health for Physicians Immediate Care.

While investing in pre-employment physical exams can help employees, such as reducing the number of injuries, it also can save an employer costs, by helping reduce turnover, contributing to fewer lost workdays and reducing workers’ compensation claims.

A Side Benefit of Mandating Exams

Mandating pre-employment physical exams also offers a side benefit—helping job applicants contemplate whether or not the job is right for them instead of quickly signing on and accepting a new position. If an applicant believes he or she is physically capable of handling the work, the pre-employment exam will validate that and provides medical documentation that assures the employer, too.

On the other hand, if the job applicant has doubts regarding his or her physical ability to do the work or pass the exam, he or she may decide not to move forward with the exam or the hiring process. This benefits everyone, allowing the job applicant to find a position that is a better fit, and allowing the employer to hire someone better suited for the role and potentially save significant costs by making a better choice.

Administering a Compliant Exam

A pre-employment physical exam must follow specific steps and maintain compliance with the American Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines as well as mandates set forth by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Some of these rules are focused on protecting the individual applicant against discrimination, while others exist to protect the safety of the employees that the applicant would interact with.

Physicians Immediate Care helps employers maintain compliance and help them determine what tests to use. Pre-employment physical exams vary based on the occupation and employer needs, and may include some or all of the following:

  • Applicants complete a thorough medical history questionnaire focused on placement-relevant conditions. They are also asked to disclose if they have any pain or problems lifting 25, 50 and 75 pounds. Other issues doctors take special note of are issues like seizure disorders if the applicant has had spinal fusion surgery or has monocular vision.

Optional Tests Available at Physicians Immediate Care

Beyond physical exams, we also offer pre-employment functional testing, from basic lift tests to a more comprehensive evaluation. Examples of tests we can administer for you include:

  • Physical Abilities Testing (PAA)
  • Baseline Lumbar X-Rays
  • Pulmonary Function Testing (spirometry, PFT)
  • Drug Testing

To learn more or to begin setting up a pre-employment physical exam program for your organization, contact our Occupational Health Team at  Click here to learn more about our Occupational Health Services.
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