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What is a Post-Offer Prework Screen Program?

Hiring qualified employees is one of the most important and difficult business decisions an employer can make. A post-offer prework screening program can help ensure selected applicants are physically able to safely perform the demands of the job. Matching a worker's abilities to the work's physical demands has been shown to decrease injuries.

A post-offer prework screen (POPWS) is a tool that can help an employer assess a job candidate's ability to safely assume or resume work duties. The POPWS is designed by a physical therapist, occupational therapist or occupational physician using information the employer provides.

A POPWS is conducted after a conditional job offer has been made. A series of objective tasks assesses a worker's ability to perform the physical demands of a job. A POPWS can also be used in return to work situations where an employee has been issued medical restrictions related to work activity.

Laying the Groundwork for a POPWS Program

Review injury data to identify higher risk jobs that should be included in the program. To create a POPWS for a specific job, the screening provider needs an accurate job description including physical demands and detailed task data.

How to Choose a Prework Screening Provider

During a POPWS, the screening provider can help identify limitations or conditions that could create a higher risk of injury on the job. A POPWS should be conducted using methods consistent with the American with Disabilities Act, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regulations and all other applicable state and federal laws and regulations. Employers should pick a screening provider who:

  • Is properly trained in POPWS testing and design methods and understands legal requirements
  • Can perform functional job analysis
  • Is located close to the employer's job site(s) or is willing to perform tests on site
  • Has experience in both occupational and nonoccupational treatments

Following a POPWS, the screening provider gives the employer the conditional hire's pass/fail results for each tested area.

Benefits of Prework Screens

There are many benefits that may result from conducting POPWS as part of the hiring process, such as:

  • Improving work efficiencies and safety by matching the right worker with the job
  • Reducing workers' compensation costs by preventing injuries
  • Easier return to work transition for injured employees
  • Avoiding hiring prejudice

Help From EMC

EMC can provide assistance to set up a POPWS program. Our loss control process includes:

  • Researching past work-related injuries to identify patterns of injury
  • Analyzing job tasks in your workplace and providing guidance to help you develop job descriptions on which a POPWS will be based
  • Assisting in identifying screening providers who can appropriately conduct a POPWS. The screening provider will help your company create testing criteria and track your data over time

For more information on setting up a post offer prework screening program at your company, contact your EMC loss control representative or your independent insurance agent. You can also email

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