Written by J. Sundberg

Work injuries are costly, time-consuming, and they draw focus away from the important work your company does. The most successful safety professionals know the best ways to avoid work injuries—including implementing exhaustive pre-placement exams.

But does your company really need pre-placement exams in order to cut down on injuries?

Investing in Pre-Placement Exams: Worth it?

Picture this: You’ve just hired a new employee—John. He’s smart, looks physically strong and seems like a reliable guy. He’s perfect for the physically-demanding role you need to fill. But a week into the job, John strains his back lifting a heavy crate. Suddenly, you have a workers’ compensation claim to deal with.

It would have been helpful to know that John had an existing back injury before he was hired. Now, you’re spending thousands of dollars on his recovery due to an injury your company is not truly responsible for.

Pre-placement exams, sometimes referred to as pre-employment exams, are tools used to help mitigate on-the-job injuries. These exams can determine if your employee is at risk for injury before they begin working. That way, you can make the right decisions about job placement before an injury can occur.

Physical Capability Exams

A Physical Capability Exam, or PCE, is an assessment that evaluates a person’s ability to perform the physical functions of a particular job. The exam focuses on important metrics like strength, range of motion and endurance. Essentially, it allows you to determine if the person can do the job. Exam results are easy to understand, as they are presented on a 1-5 scale that correlates with the Department of Labor’s Work Levels.

At Advanced Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine, we like to keep tabs our clients’ rates of injury. When companies begin using the Physical Capability Exam, we often seen their rates of injury plummet, in some cases, to half the original rate.

Provider Risk Assessments

For higher risk jobs, you may want to dig deeper with an even more comprehensive pre-employment exam. A Provider Risk Assessment is a full-body physical evaluation performed by an experienced Occupational Medicine doctor or provider. After recording vital signs and analyzing PCE results, the medical provider will further evaluate for musculoskeletal issues, check for hernias, inspect for surgical scars and signs of intravenous drug use, and assess range of motion.

Pre-Employment Physicals

If you’re less concerned in the employee’s physical capabilities and more interested in a broader medical evaluation, a Pre-Employment Physical may be the right choice for you. The Pre-Employment Physical serves as a baseline for determining if a prospective employee can physically handle a particular position at your company. This service can be customized to your own unique requirements.

Your company’s Pre-Employment Physical can include:

  • Medical history review
  • Height, weight & vital Signs
  • Urine specimen – Glucose test for diabetes
  • Vision test
  • Range of motion
  • Hernia exam
  • Back exam

Start Your Pre-Placement Exam Program

For pre-placement testing to be effective, your program needs to be implemented before the next injury occurs. If you’re not sure which exam is right for your employees, our occupational health experts can help you make the right decision—and save you money on workers’ compensation.