Four Signs You Need a Physical Ability Testing Program

[fa icon="calendar'] Jul 22, 2015 3:30:00 PM / by Deborah Lechner

Solid, experienced, reliable workers that can be counted on for exceptional productivity and safety in the workplace are the backbone of any business – assets to your company that are worth their weight in gold. However, as any employer knows, they aren't easy to find and are sometimes even harder to hang on to. A good physical ability test program can help find these workers.

How can you tell if your company would benefit? By looking for these signs that you need a physical ability testing program. 

  • You're in a physically demanding industry – If you're in an industry that requires a lot from workers in terms of physical fitness, strength, agility, and/or endurance, a comprehensive physical ability testing program is sure to benefit you. With a good testing program in place, your company can assess the physical capabilities of potential hires more accurately and ensure that current employees remain up to the day-to-day demands of their jobs, helping you build and maintain a solid workforce.
  • You're always hiring – If your company has higher than average turnover rates despite your best efforts at employee retention, leaving you constantly looking for new labor, you would likely benefit from a physical ability testing program. Physical ability tests can help ensure that employees are placed in jobs that they are well suited for physically, and employees who can easily manage the demands of their jobs are much less likely to seek greener pastures.

  • New hires often struggle to adjust – If new employees often find that their new jobs are a lot tougher than they expected, whether they underestimated the physical demands or overestimated their physical abilities, adding post-offer physical abilities testing to your hiring process can provide a good solution to this problem. Undergoing a job-specific physical ability test can help job candidates get a better idea of what will be expected of them in the workplace, giving them the opportunity to rethink things, if necessary, before they've formally accepted the job. Testing will also give you the opportunity to assess just how well potential new hires will perform in your workplace before the employment agreement is finalized.

  • High workplace injury rates and/or workers' comp costs – Are your injury rates higher than the industry average? Are injured employees staying out on workers' comp longer than you and your insurance provider think they should? If so, your company could benefit from a physical abilities assessment program – a comprehensive program that includes pre-hire testing, workplace analysis, injury prevention services, and post-injury testing and services to facilitate faster, safer return-to-work after workers' comp injuries.

So how much impact can you expect a good physical ability test program to have on these issues? Quite a large one, as it turns out. Authors of an article published by Princeton University detailed a case study on physical abilities testing done at a major multinational industrial employer. Researchers studied 220 employees, 110 of which were tested and 110 were not. The untested group sustained 23 injuries over a 4 year period with a cost of $2,073,000. The group that passed physical ability tests had one injury over that same period with a cost of $6,500.

Additionally, authors note significant reductions in employee turnover when employees prove themselves capable and fit via physical ability assessments. So if you're seeing any of the signs outlined above in your company, research shows that you have much to gain by implementing a well-designed physical ability test program in your workplace.

Physical Abilities Test Webinar

Topics: Pre Employment Screening, Workplace Safety

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.