Pre-employment assessments are now commonplace in the Australian workplace. The evaluations are critical in helping determine a potential employee’s physical capacity to safely perform the demands of their job. When conducted well, the assessments can help employers improve employee safety, productivity, presenteeism as well as minimise workers’ compensation costs.
When conducting pre-employments, employers should consider their organisation’s entire work environment as well the specific demands of each job task. The inherently popular ‘one size fits all’ assessments rarely prove to be successful. The aim of assessment regimes is to identify an individual’s occupational capacity and should align with the tasks available to ensure that all potential injury risks are identified.
Pre-employment assessments are an important part of the risk management process. Injuries or reduced productivity can significantly impact your business both financially and operationally.
What does a pre-employment assessment include?
So what’s involved in a pre-employment assessment? The main components include a detailed medical history, tailored physical examination, job specific functional capacity assessments and other practice-based tests. A comprehensive pre-employment should incorporate the following.
Medical Questionnaire Review
Medical questionnaires help determine whether a candidate is healthy enough to perform the inherent requirements of a given job. The questionnaires are tailored to enquire only about physical and medical information that is specifically and directly related to the job on offer.
Candidates are asked questions relating to their occupational and medical history, including any exposure to chemicals, hazardous substances and work-related injuries. The questionnaires may vary depending on an organisation’s work environment and the job on offer, but the content should meet all regulatory and legal requirements.
General medical examinations involve a range of checks and tests that help give employers a general overview of the health status of a candidate as well as help detect disease or risk factors early. Tests include blood pressure, heart rate, body weight, height and BMI.
Functional assessments are designed to assess a candidate’s ability to fulfil the physical requirements of a job role. Assessors can test any of the following;
Musculoskeletal Range of Motion
The musculoskeletal range of motion is a measurement of how far an individual can move and bend their joints. During a pre-employment, candidates are asked to perform a series of movements including bending and straightening the knee, shoulder and hip joints with a physiologist monitoring the range of motion.
Anatomical Joint Integrity
The condition of our body joints (to a large extent) determines our ability to perform physical activities. There are many different issues that can diminish joint integrity including infections and trauma. Individuals with damaged joints may suffer from restricted mobility and reduced functional capacity.
Strength and Balance
Strength and balance are an important part of any pre-employment. During a typical strength test, candidates may be asked to push against resistance or lift/push their arms against a downward pressure.
Back flexibility and abdominal endurance
Back flexibility and abdominal endurance contribute greatly to the stability of the spinal column and as a result – injury prevention. Examiners assess the ability of potential employees to assume the correct position when performing tasks.
Postural tolerance assessments determine the ability to maintain certain postures intrinsic to a task. These can include standing, sitting and neck postures. If a candidate is unable to hold all or some of the postures, he or she may be unable to safely perform the job.
Hand-grip strength is a limiting factor when manually lifting and carrying loads. Lifting assessments take into account grip strength of potential employees and involves a measurement of how much weight one can safely lift and carry at varying heights (floor, waist, and shoulder).
The assessment takes into account the load weight, the distance and frequency of the pull/push tasks. Employees should be able to initiate and keep the load in motion without exposing themselves to the risk of injury.
A pre-employment assessment can help you reduce your organisation’s onboarding time and expenses. Most importantly, it ensures employee safety by helping you select individuals able to perform their tasks without undue risk of injury to themselves or to others.
At Recovery Partners, our team is dedicated to providing accurate pre-employment assessment for a range of industries. Our assessors are suitably qualified and are able to administer all components of pre-employment assessments including all baseline evaluations for biomechanical requirements.
Our services are available in multiple locations nationwide. For more information, you can make enquiries here.
Alternatively, our consultants love to have a chat, so go ahead and give us a call on 1300 OHS RTW (647 789).
Disclaimer – these articles are provided to supply general safety information to people responsible for OHS in their organisation. They are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs. Additional information can be found at www.workcover.nsw.au
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