With labor shortages plaguing nearly every American industry — from food service to health care to manufacturing — maintaining a healthy, productive workforce has never been more important.
When an employee gets hurt on the job, not only do your organization’s workers’ compensation costs increase, but your efficiency can take a severe hit. Injuries within an employee’s first few weeks of work can be especially damaging.
In 2020, workplace injuries cost American employers a collective 99 million days of work and took a $163.9 billion chunk out of the economy (according to the National Safety Council). According to a Gallup report, the cost of replacing a single employee can range from 50% to 200% of that employee’s annual pay.
Proper safety procedures and training are essential for reducing workplace injuries and their devastating impact. So, too, is ensuring your employees are physically fit enough to do the job. That’s where post-offer employment testing (POET) can help.
As the phrase implies, post-offer employment testing (POET) is medical testing that occurs after an employee receives a job offer but before the employee begins work. POET exams are designed to assess a job candidate’s physical ability to perform specific job-related tasks safely.
According to guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) forbids “disability-related inquiries and medical examinations” prior to a job offer.
However, after a conditional job offer, “an employer may make disability-related inquiries and conduct medical examinations” as long as it does so “for all entering employees in the same job category.”
This affords employers a brief but crucial window for obtaining a baseline of an employee's physical capabilities and qualifications.
For example, a post-offer hearing test will enable the company to know that an employee has not suffered hearing loss around heavy equipment if there was a baseline recorded.
Post-offer employment testing (POET) is generally conducted by a licensed medical professional. It may include the typical elements of a medical exam, such as medical history and a physical examination. However, the key component of a POET exam is functional testing designed to simulate the physical activities the candidate will perform on the job.
For example, if the job requires lifting 40 pounds from the floor to a shelf, the POET examiner will ask the candidate to do just that during the test. Depending on the position, the candidate may be asked to climb, shovel, push, squat, or use tools specific to the job.
(Keep in mind: Post-offer employment testing should not exceed the job requirements, and testing should be the same for every job candidate.)
Throughout all this, the examiner will monitor and assess the candidate’s performance and vitals. When the testing is complete, the examiner will prepare a report outlining the candidate’s fitness for the position. If the candidate is found unfit to perform the job duties safely, the job offer may be rescinded (provided reasonable accommodations cannot be made according to the ADA).
It’s never easy to take back a job offer or to have a job offer taken from you, but the purpose of POET is not to punish those who receive negative assessments. Job candidates often overestimate their capabilities. POET protects workers from painful injuries and helps them gain a realistic understanding of the jobs for which they are fit.
For employers, the benefits of POET are apparent:
Because post-offer employment testing is tailored to specific job requirements, it is not the same thing as a pre-employment physical. Your organization will most likely need assistance creating testing protocols that simulate the physical demands of each of your available positions. You may also need help connecting with qualified medical professionals to run POET exams.
Fortunately, Chane Solutions can handle all of that for you. We’ll work with our network of healthcare providers to make sure your employees are healthy, safe, and fit for the job. Click here to discuss initiating a POET program at your workplace.
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