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How Can Post-Offer Employment Testing Make Our Highways Safer?

Posted by Danny Sanchez, PT, CEAS on January 27, 2016

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Is it possible that post-offer employment testing (POET) could make our highways safer? We recently read an article that made a good case for pre-employment testing of commercial truck drivers. The article suggested that routinely testing candidates can uncover serious, relevant medical conditions that may limit his or her ability to perform the essential functions of their job. And that may help avoid catastrophic highway accidents.

But a pre-employment physical and POET are not the same. The goal is similar – to determine if a job candidate is physically able to perform the work. But here’s where they differ:

  • As defined by the ADA, a physical exam looks for “physical or mental impairments or both. It tests the body’s physiological or biological responses. The candidate may have one or more medical conditions. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they cannot do the job.
  • Post-offer employment testing assesses whether the candidate can perform the actual functions and tasks required by the job.

The EEOC uses this example: POET determines if someone can lift a certain amount of weight and carry it a certain distance. This is not considered a medical test. But if you then check the candidate’s heart rate and/or blood pressure, that is considered a medical test.

POET Helps Make Every Workplace Safer

It’s not just trucking companies that worry. Are potential new hires physically fit for duty? Or are they an “accident waiting to happen”? Warehousing, manufacturing and construction are all settings where an unfit employee could cause a lethal accident.  In any work environment an employee who cannot safely do their job poses a danger to themselves.

They may also pose a danger to co-workers. And if they’re injured and out of work, that puts your company’s work product at risk. It also increases workers’ comp costs and jeopardizes your mod rate.

Post-offer employment testing can identify health and safety risks so you can avoid them. That helps limit your exposure and liability. But there are plenty of other reasons to adopt post-offer employment testing:

  • Create more thorough, accurate job descriptions based on real-life data
  • Improve hiring by matching the “right” employee to the job
  • Reduce workers’ comp claims and costs
  • Develop more individually-tailored treatment plans if an injury occurs
  • Reduce turnover
  • Reduce the number of injuries and severity of injuries
  • Reduce days off work
  • Establish a baseline to avoid unnecessary claims in the future
  • Protect your company reputation and productivity

Results Speak for Themselves

POET can evaluate many types of physical abilities. It works because it is job-specific. Can the candidate perform essential functions and tasks required for this job under actual working conditions? The value of post-offer employment testing has been studied repeatedly. And it has been proven across many industries. Among actual results, companies that adopted POET experienced:

  • A significant drop in on-the-job injury rates – 1% versus 23% without POET1
  • Powerful ROI, saving as much as $18 for every $1 spent on post-offer employment testing2

We’ve seen outstanding results time after time, first-hand. One of OnSite Physio’s own clients conducted their own year-long pilot program. Their locations that used POET had:

  • 30% fewer workers’ comp claims
  • 64% lower incurred costs

Locations that did not participate in post-offer employment testing had:

  • An 8% in claims
  • 55% higher incurred costs

You can always hope for the best when you hire new people. But POET is a proactive investment. It has the power to make your workplace safer, no matter what industry you’re in. Why risk your company’s reputation and financial future? Investing in post-offer employment testing is a proven way to protect your business. It helps you avoid hiring candidates that put themselves -- and you -- at risk.

Sources:

  1. Scott L. Post offer screening. J Am Assoc Occup Health Nurses. 2002; 50(12):559-563.
  2. Littleton M. Cost effectiveness of a pre-work screening program for the University of Chicago physical plant. Work. 2003; 21(3):243-250.

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