These tests are important for employee health and that of others in the workplace. The stakes for some businesses are higher, as workplace safety can also affect the general public and the environment.

What is a fit-for-duty exam?

You need to be sure that your employees can complete the tasks necessary for the job without risking injury or damaging your product or equipment. It is an important step that should be part of your onboarding.

And when employees come back from an illness, injury, or surgery, you need to make sure they can safely return to the tasks of the job. The information becomes part of their return-to-work application.

What is involved in a fit-for-duty exam?

comprehensive fit-for-duty exam looks at each employee’s physical and psychological condition in light of the tasks they will need to complete. Patient Plus customizes the protocol to fit your work environment.

Physical testing may measure strength, agility, stamina, endurance, balance, hearing, or vision. The specific actions of a task, such as lifting things overhead or repeated crouching may be involved. Drug screening is sometimes added.

Psychological testing may include ability to focus, remember, handle stress, risk tolerance, and decision-making.

What are the benefits of requiring a fit-for-duty exam?

Improving occupational health with a fit-for-duty exam offers a number of benefits:

  • Cut employee turnover costs and increase retention
  • Improve productivity
  • Reduce injuries and safety incidents
  • Track injury data against a baseline
  • Lower the risk of expensive lawsuits
  • Should you be sued, you’ll have a process and data to protect you

How can you stay compliant with OSHA fit-for-duty regulations?

OSHA defines fit-for-duty as being mentally, physically, and emotionally able to safely do a job.

It is illegal to conduct these exams before hiring. You can offer the job contingent on passing a fit-for-duty exam. You must require the exam of all employees for the same job and cannot single out individual candidates.

Beyond OSHA regulations, you need to consider the EEOC rules that determine when you can ask an employee to take a fit-for-duty exam. These include when an employee is struggling to perform tasks, you have evidence they have a medical condition that could impact performance, when they come back from a leave of absence for a physical or
emotional issue, or they are showing evidence of carelessness or increased mistakes, The Americans with Disabilities Act prevents you from discriminating against disabled workers and also requires you to offer accommodation during the fit-for-duty exam.

Working with experienced professionals at Patient Plus can ensure you don’t mistakenly violate the complex regulations in this area of employee health law.

Talk to a fit-for-duty exam specialist

We can help you with designing fit-for-duty exams that address your specific needs and risks. We are happy to answer any questions you have about staying compliant with state and federal regulations. Call us directly at 225-376-2601 or fill out the form below.

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