As workers’ compensation costs soar higher and higher every year, employers are using a variety of methods to lower or contain their costs. A highly successful method is the use of post-hire, pre-placement physical capacity assessments. These measure a non-injured person’s capacity to meet the maximum physical requirements of a job.
ept Rehabilitation now offers Job Placement Assessments (JPA) as part of its family of Healthy Workplace programs, which include Early Intervention Program, On-Site Ergonomic Evaluations and Safety Meetings. Each JPA accurately determines whether a new hire is capable of safely performing the physical tasks of the job. It is an essential, court-tested tool that is highly useful in the process of selecting only those employees who are qualified for the job.
[img src=”http://www.eptrehabilitation.com/images/photos/labor.jpg” alt=”” height=”180″ width=”119″ align=”right” border=”0″>The JPA’s bottom line is to reduce costs. It permits employers to minimize undue workers’ compensation risks as well as place people in jobs consistent with their physical abilities.
- Lifting, pushing and pulling, and carrying activities.
- The need for instruction in proper lifting techniques.
- Cardiovascular responses to physical activities.
- The need for additional education and/or intervention prior to actual job placement.
The JPA is a series of specific, objective body motions administered by an ept Rehabilitation Certified Assessment Specialist, either on the work site or in an ept clinic. If a person about to be tested demonstrates traditional orthopedic problems, the JPA is not appropriate as it is only meant to measure non-injured workers.
The first step in each JPA is for ept Rehabilitation to perform a thorough analysis of the job site and the task(s). This permits the therapist to administer an assessment consistent with the job requirements. It also enables ept Rehabilitation to familiarize itself with the corporate culture of each company so that it may tailor other Healthy Workplace services to meet each client’s needs.
Usually, successful job applicants are told that they are being hired with the qualification that they must be able to lift 50 pounds. If a new hire is only able to lift 40 pounds, that person is given two weeks to improve his or her lifting ability. Then they must be reassessed before actually being placed in the job.
Post-hire testing must meet EEOC and Americans with Disabilities Act requirements since it can be used to exclude employees not capable of performing job tasks. It will meet these requirements if the test is not discriminatory, is job specific, and is properly validated. ept Rehabilitation’s JPA program is court-tested and ensures these legal requirements are met.
JPAs can be given to individuals or to small groups. Individual JPAs usually last 45 minutes each, and group JPAs (up to 5) can take 2-3 hours. As in any exercise, pulse rates will increase with activity and the amount of weight lifted. This is why the JPA also requires a medical history from each person tested. This ensures proper medical knowledge of the person and helps to safely determine recommended safe levels of activity for work-related weighted physical activities prior to and during testing. However, this medical history knowledge is not used to determine job capability.
All of the objective data collected during a JPA establishes a benchmark. If the applicant is actually placed in the job and later suffers any type of injury, the post-hire, pre-placement status can be used to counter speculation about pre-existing conditions and comparisons to persons of similar age and weight. This also enables employers to more easily detect faking of an injury and thus reduce workers’ compensation liability and expenses, as well as helping to reduce the amount of court settlements.
While more companies are using Job Placement Assessments for post-hire, pre-placement reasons, others are beginning to use it also for post-employment/fit for duty testing. This accomplishes several objectives:
- It determines an employee’s ability to continue to perform job tasks safely, and provides an opportunity to provide instruction in proper body mechanics, lifting techniques and simple exercises to relieve pain.
- It identifies cumulative trauma syndromes or disease processes which increase in occurrence as employees age.
- It establishes baseline data to qualify legitimate injuries and disqualify fakers.
- It permits the employer to work with long-term employees to ensure their on-the-job safety while taking into account the effects of aging.
Recent experience shows that only 40 percent of all back injury costs to businesses go to medical expenses. The rest goes to disability settlements, legal costs and administrative expenses. Whether your company’s need is for post-hire or post-employment testing, ept Rehabilitation’s Job Placement Assessments can be a valuable tool in the containment and reduction of your workers’ compensation costs.