Benefits of Post Offer Employment Testing
By Joseph M. Harris, JD, DPT, PT, ATC
While hiring employees can be a difficult and time consuming process, it is important to be sure the people you hire are a right fit for your company and physically able to do the job for which they are being hired. A valuable tool in that process is the growing use of post-offer employment testing (POET). While POETs are a valuable method of reducing work injury and for documenting pre-existing impairments, it is important to select a provider who is experienced in the testing process and can provide a testing protocol that is valid, effective, efficient, and legal. A third party provider performing POET should be familiar with the essential job functions that will be required of the employment position and the legal requirements of testing imposed by the state and federal government, specifically, the EEOC.
Before hiring an employee to perform a specific job. It is important to know whether or not the employee fits the job for which they are being paid. Before being placed in a specific position, it is helpful for the employer to know the employee is capable of safely performing the essential functions of the job. If the person cannot safely perform the essential job functions, they will likely be placed in a position that puts them at risk of injury. Additionally, pre-employment testing can identify disabilities for which the employer can make a reasonable accommodation allowing the person to work safely in the job position. Furthermore, during the pre-employment testing process, baseline information can be gathered about an employee. This baseline data documents impairments of the employee prior to employment. Workers comp assumes that employees are in perfect shape and do not come to the workplace with pre-existing conditions or problems. It is up to the employer to show otherwise, should a worker become injured on the job. This baseline data allows the employer to mitigate or apportion a claim. Additionally, when pre-existing condition is present and not disclosed by the employee and the employee subsequently worsens the condition, this withholding of information can be addressed appropriately, potentially reducing the cost of treatment to the employer.
Companies that have implemented employment testing report a 50% reduction in workers’ compensation claims in the first year of implementation. Employers also report reduced lost time days and a reduction in employee turnover. Employers also report having a more fit workforce and increased worker productivity. Companies who have implemented a pre-employment testing program tend to see fewer work related injuries and injuries that do occur, tend to be less severe.
There are specific rules that must be complied with for a legal POET program. POETs are performed after the candidate has been offered a position but before the candidate has started working in that position. During this narrow window, the employer is allowed to gather a lot of information about the employee, including medical information. Additionally, the testing protocols must be based on an accurate job analysis, specifically, the essential job functions. The testing protocols, results, and subsequent decisions should be based on an individualized assessment and should be consistent with business necessity.
Establishing a relationship with a third-party provider for pre-employment testing who can provide comprehensive job risk analysis and who can combine the ergonomic, functional, medical, and legal models for a comprehensive and compliant program is essential to the success of a testing program. Employers who have implemented a successful program have seen a 30:1 return on investment, saving thousands of dollars in lost productivity and workers compensation costs.
For more information, Call PT Pros at 270-230-1729 or The Law office of Joseph Harris at 270-222-3773