Why You Might Want To Do Medical Exams on Your Non-DOT Employees
Written by Lucas Kibby, CleanFleet
Being given a medical exam before getting a job offer or a promotion is not uncommon for many workers. These medical exams have several names: “work fitness assessment”, “fitness-for-duty examination”, or “pre-employment physicals”.
These medical exams are becoming the norm in many industries. Once restricted to industries with a high incidence of work-site-related accidents, more and more employers are now seeing the advantages of requesting them. The exams ensure that you are in good health and able to do the job you’re being hired for. The company is protecting itself against liability claims by doing this, but it’s also protecting you by confirming you’re in good physical shape and mentally capable of doing the job.
Let’s take a look at these various medical exams and see why you may want to include them for your non-DOT employees.
3 Common Types of Medical Exams
A work fitness assessment provides companies with objective information regarding an employee’s capacity for work, and assist with matching a worker to a suitable task or roles.
Fitness-for-duty examinations confirm that employees can perform their job duties upon return from medical leave and to establish baseline medical information as part of company’s health and wellness initiatives. A potential employee’s ability to effectively meet specific job requirements is fundamental in ensuring their health and wellbeing, as well as optimal productivity levels for an employer.
Pre-employment physicals determine whether applicants or employees are medically and physically able to perform their roles and to establish a medical baseline for employees in accordance with the appropriate regulatory agency (DOT, OSHA, etc.)
Used in conjunction with pre-employment physicals, a work fitness assessment can assist in the appropriate selection of new employees. The information gathered is unquestionably valuable in assessing higher risk employees where issues such as BMI, previous injury, and degenerative factors may be present when the job role is considered medium or above in physical demand.
Employer’s Right for Medical Exams
Employees and applicants should be aware of their rights with regards to tests such as cognitive tests, skill assessment tests, fitness tests, and more. These kinds of tests might be applied equally to all applicants, appear reasonable, and nevertheless break anti-discrimination laws. Other laws also come into play with regards to testing at work, including medical privacy and disabilities laws.
Some jobs may have specific physical requirements as part of their description. For example, a warehouse employee might be expected to be able to lift a certain amount of weight. Just like a skills test, however, the test has to bear a clear relationship to the job at issue. For example, if a strength test is to be given, it should not require more strength to complete the test than it does to perform the functions of the job.
Once an employee is on the job, an employer’s right to conduct a medical exam is usually limited to fitness-for-duty situations. If an employee exhibits objective indications that he or she is physically or mentally unfit to perform the essential functions of the job (for example, by claiming an injury that makes working impossible), an employer may request that the employee’s fitness for the job be evaluated by a medical examiner.
Although the medical examiner can take a full history of the employee and conduct necessary tests to evaluate the employee’s fitness, the employer is not generally entitled to all of this information — only to the examiner’s conclusions about whether the employee can work. Many states also impose strict limits on the information a doctor may disclose to an employer or an insurance company without the worker’s consent.
Individuals being evaluated for hire or placement are not required to divulge past medical problems to a prospective employer. In fact, employers cannot ask questions that may reveal past or current disabilities and/or impairments. A medical provider, however, may inquire about past medical and/or physical conditions. For that reason, a physical examination should be an integral part of the hiring process.
What Does the Exam Cover?
- General Physical Exam – vital signs and medical history.
- Basic Hearing and Vision Test
- Possible Respiratory Test
- Drug & Alcohol Screening Test
- and other Possible Specialty Tests as requested by the Employer
Upon completion of the physical examination, the qualified medical examiner will discuss the results with the person being examined and provide any authorized information to the employer.
CleanFleet provides medical exams at our Portland, Oregon metro clinics for DOT and non-DOT regulated employees in need of a physical to determine work performance capability or a return-to-duty examination. Reach out to the experts to learn more about including Medical Exams in your work policies or to schedule an exam today; and ask us about our optional on-site exams at your location, 503-479-6082.