Physical function job analysis and pre-work screenings go far beyond determining if a potential employee is well-suited for a job.
Tony Silva, director of Atlas Injury Prevention Solutions, explained that the analysis and testing process allows human resources to write more accurate job descriptions, identifies safety hazards and helps to create job modifications and return-to-work plans after an injury.
“Doctors have said to me that no one else provides them a job analysis, and that they typically have no idea what a patient actually does at work.” Darin Hampton, regional workers’ compensation coordinator, International Paper
Darin Hampton, Silva’s co-panelist November 12 at the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo, emphasized the importance of providing detailed job analyses to treating physicians when an employee is injured.
“Doctors have said to me that no one else provides them a job analysis, and that they typically have no idea what a patient actually does at work,” said Hampton, the regional workers’ compensation coordinator for International Paper.
Measuring the frequency of certain types of activities — such as lifting, pulling or climbing a ladder – along with the pounds of force involved gives both doctors and claims managers a better idea of what an injured employee can handle for temporary transitional duty.
Fitness-for-duty evaluations, similar to pre-work screens, enable an employer to keep a tab on the employee’s recovery process and ensure accommodations are provided in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
However, “if they are not improving, or getting worse, somebody needs to step in,” Hampton said.
Transitional duty should be evaluated after 90 days, and an employer should consider alternatives like vocational rehabilitation, a medical leave of absence or other ADA-compliant reasonable accommodations if an employee has not improved.
“Reasonable accommodation can mean anything from reducing a worker’s hours, restructuring their responsibilities, or renovating a facility to meet the needs they have due to their disability,” said third panelist Gia Schneider, shareholder and attorney with Haworth, Bradshaw, Stallknecht and Barber.