Does your business operate in a physically demanding industry? Are you losing employees due to on-the-job injuries? If you have done all you can to improve workplace safety – taken environmental precautions, updated safety equipment, employee training, and so on – with little effect in terms of preventing workplace injuries and injury-related turnover, you may be starting to think that high injury rates and the accompanying turnover are simply a cost of doing business in your field.
However, there is a cost-effective tool you may not be aware of – one that you can use to dramatically reduce on-the-job injuries and related turnover, even in very demanding jobs. Pre-employment physical abilities testing (PAT) is that tool, and implementing a well-designed testing program in your workplace can make a dramatic difference in workplace injuries. How does a good pre-hire physical abilities testing program work to prevent on-the-job injuries? It tests the physical capabilities of employment candidates to provide an accurate and objective evaluation of whether they are well-matched to the physical demands of the specific jobs for which they have applied.
Employees who are well-suited to the demands of their positions will be capable of performing the essential functions of the job safely and efficiently, posing a much lower risk of workplace accidents and injuries than an employee who struggles to manage daily tasks. The result is a lower risk of losing employees, whether due to injuries, to the frustration of that daily struggle to perform their duties, or to the lower morale that frequent workplace injuries cause in the workplace.
A well-designed physical abilities testing program – one that will be effective in preventing workplace injuries and is EEOC-compliant – begins with a job demands analysis to identify the essential functions of jobs for which you wish to design tests, and then a quantification of the physical demands of those functions. Then, tests are formulated using validated testing methods and a clear pass/fail criteria to evaluate the ability of potential employees to meet those demands.
Are you wondering about the ROI of such a program? Can it really reduce turnover due to on-the-job injuries enough to make adding yet another workplace safety program worthwhile? Yes, it can, according to published studies. In a study published in the journal Work, researchers found that pre employment physical abilities testing dramatically reduced injuries in health care workers, with a 91 percent reduction in tested workers as compared to untested nursing staff. It proved exceptionally cost-effective as well, with a total ROI of $4,541,059.
While every workplace has its own unique challenges, numbers like these certainly reflect the potential of physical abilities testing in terms of preventing workplace injuries and expense of the high turnover rates that are generally associated with them. If results as impressive as the Work study are your goal, be sure to choose a well-established and expert testing provider to help you design an effective, EEOC-compliant, and legally defensible physical abilities testing program – one that meets the specific needs of your workplace and uses validated testing methods that are backed up by published research.