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Loss Control Insights

Tips for Finding a Good Prework Screening Provider

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What if you could determine whether new employees are physically capable of performing job tasks and less likely to be injured on the job before you hire them by administering a simple test? Would you jump at the chance? Many budget and safety-conscious managers would. That’s because medical bills, workers’ compensation claims, lost work days and a failure to retain workers who get injured can cost your organization both time and money.

The test in question is a post–offer employment screening, which is generally a permissible condition of hiring. It’s administered after you choose the candidate you believe is the best qualified to fill the job but before the candidate begins working. You’ll find out if the employee selected is physically capable of performing the demands of the job.

The Case for Post–Offer Screening

EMC stats show that claims costs for unscreened employees were four times higher than for those who were screened for physical demanding jobs. For example, a study reported by the National Institutes of Health showed a 37% decline in medical expenses after implementing post–offer testing. The same study also showed that for every dollar spent on testing, companies saved $14 in medical costs. Another study in a healthcare setting found a significant decrease in turnover, saving $6 for every $1 spent on testing.

Finding the Right Screener

Making this work for your organization is all dependent on having an effective test administrator or screener. You’ll need to work with a provider to help develop and implement the testing program. The testers are generally occupational or physical therapists, often working for a clinic with expertise in post–offer evaluations. As you explore options and interview screening clinics, you’ll want to ask the therapist to:

  • Describe background experiences in both post–offer screening and functional job analysis. Tip: Ask for written examples.
  • Explain how she or he observes, reviews, confirms and identifies the job tasks and physical demands, and how this leads to developing reliable testing procedures. Tip: Ask the therapist to demonstrate the process in a mock review.
  • Show examples of test orientation materials provided to job candidates before the test. Tip: Test the materials out on current employees to see how effective they are.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) legally influence the administration of screening tests. Tip: Have your organization’s lawyer sit in on this discussion.
  • Describe how he or she provides test accommodations for job candidates if needed. Tip: Ask for details and outcomes.
  • Elaborate on written medical standards and criteria for starting and stopping a test as needed to keep the job candidate safe. Tip: Ask for a copy of the provider’s or the clinic’s standards.
  • Explain how he or she handles injuries that occur during testing, giving examples. Tip: Your organization’s best practices should follow the testing clinic’s procedures for urgent or emergent care, so request and review a copy of the clinic’s protocols before hiring the screener.

Here are some additional details to cover with the therapist:

  • His or her proximity to your workplace.
  • Willingness to travel to multiple job sites, if necessary.
  • Pricing for developing the exam criteria, administering each test and providing results.
  • The amount of time it takes to administer each test, and how long it will take for your company to get the results.
  • Method of communicating test results (verbal, written or both), and what is included in each report. Tip: The report you receive should include only a pass or fail for the candidate tested. That’s because all other medical records and documentation should be maintained by the test administrator as a medical file.
  • References from companies with work requirements similar to yours.

EMC: Another Partner in the Process

Before implementing your screening process, you should follow other essential steps to get your program off the ground. These details include reviewing records of past injuries to determine which jobs will benefit from evaluation and screening, and reviewing or developing job descriptions that include all of the physical tasks to be evaluated. From there, you’ll need a written policy to be sure that you are consistent in how you apply post–offer employment testing. While these are big tasks, EMC can help you work through the steps and find reputable screening clinics to begin your search.

Refer to this EMC Prework Screening Programs video to learn about the six steps in implementing a prework screening program.

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