The Fit-For-Duty Exam is helping Kannapolis-based construction company, Wayne Brothers (http://www.waynebrothers.com), ensure they're hiring workers capable of heavy labor. It's a test employers say is saving them tens of thousands of dollars each year.
"Many times over, it's better to be proactive than reactive," said Jason Sisk, safety director for Wayne Brothers Construction.
Sisk says the company saw a significant number of workers last year who were unable to lift tools and supplies on the job.
"We have had accidents that have slowed down production and can hurt the whole job due to that," said Sisk.
He said it drove workers' comp claims up. It's why they partnered with physical therapists at Carolinas Medical Center-Northeast in Kannapolis to develop the test.
"We are actually simulating the actual job activities as part of their pre-placement job assessment to make sure they're physically capable of doing the actual job tasks," said Dr. Steven St. Clair, medical director of occupational medicine at Carolinas Medical Center - Northeast.
Things like lifting, pushing, and other things employers will expect them to do. And it's been a success so far. Of more than 200 potential Wayne Brothers employees who finished the test last year, there's been about an 80 percent pass rate.
"It has helped screen out potential accidents and folks not fit to do the work and it has also deterred those potential folks that may be coming in just to find a home to make a workers' comp claim," said Sisk.
It's not just protecting companies, but protecting those who need a job.
"Of course, in this economy, many people just will take any job they can possibly get and they may be taking risks with their health that are really not prudent," said St. Clair.
Doctors said, although the option has been around for years, it's only recently gaining popularity among other labor-intensive industries.
Doctors at CMC also said companies seeking Fit-For-Duty Exams has more than doubled in the last year or two.