A post-hiring physical involves a host of compliance issues, but technology is giving businesses a way to assess some applicants’ fitness for the job as a simple step in the interview process.
“Cost Reduction Technologies came up with a way to test an individual’s strength and agility,” says Melissa Lykins, claims manager for Lovitt & Touché, an insurance and employee benefits consultant firm that has been using CRT’s machine since the fall of 2013. This evaluation has been particularly well-suited in jobs such as trucking, construction and home healthcare, which require heavy lifting, Lykins relates.
Employers are not allowed to ask, during hiring interviews, if an applicant has an injury at that time. And Lykins notes that there is the possibility of injury occurring in a required physical exam because the applicant, in trying to get the job, may overdo his or her effort. “He may end up injuring himself and causing the employer a workman’s comp claim before even starting to work.”
Focusing on shoulders, backs and knees, the machine uses isokinetics, responding with as much resistance as the person gives of effort. A person can’t injure himself, Lykins notes, and, because the machine tests both extension and flexion, he can’t fake the test, either. CRT provides a report giving the person’s body index score, and Lovitt & Touché compares that with the employer’s description of the essential functions of the job, based on the U.S. Department of Labor definitions of strength levels.
“We’ve seen a reduction in claims,” Lykins relates. And this year, having begun to accumulate pre-hire data, her company began using CRT for post-injury testing to ascertain if a person claiming to still be injured is giving valid effort, and to help identify where the individual may still need rehab.