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Safety and the Hiring Process – Pre-Hire Physicals

- April 23, 2018 by Leslie Stoll, CSP, ARM (View all posts by Leslie)

In my last blog about the interview process, I discussed questions to ask to help evaluate a person’s safety attitude. Now that you’ve found a good candidate and made the job offer, now it’s time for the person to start working, right? Maybe not. It might be a better idea to send that candidate to a post offer, pre-employment physical.  In this blog, I’ll provide some tips for establishing a pre-employment physical process. Of course, with any Human Resources policy, it’s best to consult with your legal counsel to make sure all local and federal laws are being considered before implementation.

In general, the first thing to do is to look for a local occupational health clinic or physical therapy facility who can run the test for you. Many of the larger chains have programs set up to make this process easy. The facility you chose will probably ask for the job description(s). If you don’t already have one, some clinics can help you develop these as well. Many of our policyholders found that the same clinic they are using to treat work-related injuries can provide the employment physicals as well.

If the exam results indicate that the candidate cannot perform all the essential job duties, then you must fully review all the considerations laid forth by the EEOC before refusing that person employment.

According to the EEOC, “If the question or examination screens out an individual because of a disability, the employer must demonstrate that the reason for the rejection is “job-related and consistent with business necessity.” Additionally, “if the individual is screened out for safety reasons, the employer must demonstrate that the individual poses a ‘direct threat.’ This means that the individual poses a significant risk of substantial harm to him/herself or others and that the risk cannot be reduced below the direct threat level through reasonable accommodation.”

Also worth noting from the EEOC, if you require a physical for one candidate in a job category that you must require it for all candidates; otherwise, the EEOC could consider this a form of discrimination.

The EEOC policy contains a lot of helpful information including a section on frequently asked questions.

If the exam results indicate some limitation, but you can accommodate them, you now can place that employee into a work environment that is less likely to lead to an injury and a worker’s compensation claim.

Stay tuned for my next blog about hiring practices – first day of work orientation!

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