How Can Employers Minimize Hiring Risks in Physically Demanding Jobs?

06.28.2019 | Prevention

 

Employers take a risk when hiring a new employee when the job has physical demands, and there is uncertainty regarding the person’s ability to complete all job tasks. What if the employee doesn’t have the strength, mobility and/or endurance to safely complete all duties? The employer may be at risk of an unfortunate work-related injury or overuse situation. This risk can be minimized! PDRWorks offers employers the opportunity to assess whether a person is physically able to complete the job requirements before the applicant is formally hired.  Our occupational and physical therapists are trained in safe body mechanics/lifting techniques, and can assess whether an individual may be compensating during physical tasks and are potentially at risk of injury.

At PDRWorks, our therapists are trained in performing POPEs, or Post-Offer Pre-Employment assessments. During the hiring process, the Human Resource department must first determine if an applicant meets basic qualifications for the job. The POPE is then administered to determine if the applicant can complete the essential functions of the job. This might include lifting, carrying, pushing, stair climbing and a number of other physical tasks. This test allows the employer confidence that the applicant can physically do the job.

As an example, “Joe” is interviewing to work as a delivery driver. The essential job tasks are as follows:

  • Tolerate prolonged sitting
  • Lifting and carrying up to 50# on an occasional basis
  • Lifting and carrying 30# on a frequent basis
  • Overhead reaching
  • Repetitive pushing and pulling

PDRWorks would work together with the employer to clearly define the expectations of a delivery driver. “Joe” would perform the essential job tasks under the supervision of a licensed occupational or physical therapist. The therapist would assess and give feedback to the employer with regard to Joe’s tolerances with sitting, lifting, carrying, reaching and pushing/pulling. If Joe’s abilities line up with the essential job task requirements, the employer may decide to proceed with an employment offer.

If the applicant does not pass the test, the employer can decide what to do with the POPE results. The applicant may be offered a different job that has lower physical demands, or it may be determined that the offer should be withdrawn. Employers want to make an informed decision to ensure the right person is doing the right job, both for safety and long term employment opportunity.