Before You Hire, Screen: How Pre Employment Testing Can Reduce Injury

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 26, 2015 8:30:00 AM / by Deborah Lechner

Pre employment testing helps employers turn a subjective decision into a winning HR strategy and a reduced chance of on-the-job injury.

Louis Pasteur famously stated, “Chance favors the prepared mind.” While he was probably talking about medical breakthroughs, he was undoubtedly referring to healthy due diligence when it comes to big decisions. And for businesses, one of the biggest decisions with the most impact to workplace culture and bottom line is who to hire.

Not every person is suited for every job. It’s just the truth; and while anyone may be encouraged to apply for a position with a high amount of bodily stress, physicality, lifting requirements, repetitive motion, or any other combination of strenuous physical activity, not just anyone is actually suited for the long-term performance of those tasks. But how can a company know, objectively, who the right candidates are—and who might be an on-the-job injury waiting to happen? The answer is post-offer, pre employment physical abilities testing.

Administering a series of research-based, peer-reviewed tests built specifically for your business’s unique functional requirements shifts hiring from a roulette wheel of risk and potential injury into a substantiated, defensible decision based in science. But pre-hire, post offer physical abilities testing does more than just that:

  1. It helps create a better, longer-lasting job fit: Pre employment testing facilitates a potentially better match between work and worker, resulting in an immediate good “fit” which inspires short-term workplace success, as well as a potential long-term benefits in the form of lower turnover.
  2. It reduces injury: Numerous studies conclude that taking the time to conduct pre-hire employment screening can significantly reduce workplace injury, heading potential problems off at the pass—before workers begin their new jobs, and before an ill-suited employee has a chance to injure him or herself. Littleton[1] provides perhaps the strongest evidence to date of testing’s effectiveness. In this study, researchers tested physical plant applicants at a major university hospital and found an 18%, decrease in the number of lost day cases, and a 78% decrease in total injury costs.
  3. It saves money. In the same study, researchers also discovered significant ROI in conducting pre-employment testing: for every $1 spent on screening, the employer saved $18.

What’s the bottom line?

Test early and often to reap the full benefits of pre-employment physical abilities testing, and stop workplace injuries before they have a chance to happen—before the first day on the job. Know your workplace, its stressors and unique tasks.  Choose a smart solution that’s vetted—an independently researched, peer-reviewed, screen designed just for your business and its specific work activities.

Screening before you hire is smart, and can keep your business out of trouble, out of court, and out of the unenviable position of having to deal with workplace injury that could potentially have been avoided.

When are Physical abilities test best performed  


[1] Littleton M, Cost-effectiveness of a prework screening program for the University of Illinois at Chicago Physical Plant. Work 21 (2003),243-250.

Topics: Pre Employment Screening

Deborah Lechner

Written by Deborah Lechner

Deborah Lechner, ErgoScience President, combines an extensive research background with 25-plus years of clinical experience. Under her leadership, ErgoScience continues to use the science of work to improve workplace safety, productivity and profitability.