With persistent labor shortages and staffing demands at an all-time high, companies are focusing on employee retention and workplace safety. In 2020, according to the National Safety Council, employees suffered over 250,000 workplace injuries from strain and overexertion, missing approximately 14 days of work. Injuries drive up costs and impact productivity, prompting many organizations to re-examine their occupational health policies.
While musculoskeletal injuries can happen in numerous circumstances, employees tackling job duties they can't physically handle is a major contributing factor. Consequently, organizations often use employee testing services or assessment programs to ensure employees have jobs they can safely perform. Testing is typically pass/fail while assessments discover where employees need assistance in the form of job modifications, physical conditioning, or additional treatment after an injury,
Testing Services for Various Stages of the Hire-to-Retire Employee Journey
There are measurable benefits to ensuring individuals have appropriate jobs, including fewer workplace injuries, decreased workers' compensation costs, and reduced turnover. With situations changing over time, there are three scenarios where employee testing and assessment services can safeguard workers' wellbeing and enhance their productivity.
Pre-Employment Screenings – Organizations use POET, the post-offer/pre-hire physical abilities examination, to validate candidates can capably perform the job's activities defined in the Functional Job Description (FJD). Those who use POET have much higher retention rates and fewer workers' comp injuries than those who don't. Following federal ADA and EEOC requirements, organizations should give candidates POET assessments only after a job offer has been made, with their employment contingent on successfully passing. With its legal implications and complex testing criteria, you should use expert POET service providers like WorkWell to administer these assessments.
On-the-Job Employee Testing – Concerned that POET testing would interfere with adding new workers, some firms skip this step and risk placing unqualified employees in new jobs. In other cases, current workers may struggle to perform their duties because of changing circumstances in their physical health or increased job demands. In response, WorkWell's ErgoStart assessment program can objectively appraise an employee's fit with their physical work environment and identify potential performance gaps. Specially trained healthcare providers perform assessments to produce evidence-based, compliant information about workers' capabilities. The information helps health care providers respond with recommended job-specific conditioning programs, worker education, and ergonomic modifications to improve employees' wellbeing and performance.
Return-to-Work Evaluations - Getting ill or injured employees back to work is crucial once employees recover. To ascertain their fitness for duty, qualified healthcare providers assess injured employees to confirm they can safely perform their job's essential physical requirements. If not, managers can adjust employees' work activities and help them safely transition back into the worksite. For example, providers in WorkWell's WorkFIT program accurately evaluate workers' ability to perform their job requirements as documented in the FJD and recommend necessary treatments or task accommodations. WorkFIT's objective ADA-compliant assessments help employers make legal, fair, and non-discriminatory decisions regarding employees' ability to resume work duties.
To optimize performance, workers should have jobs suitable for their physical capabilities throughout their employee lifecycle. Investing in employee testing and occupational health services such as onsite PT care can ensure this while also helping organizations retain valuable staff and promote a corporate safety culture.