What is Fit for Duty Physical?
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a person is “fit for duty” when their mental, physical and emotional state enables the employee to safely perform the essential duties on their work assignment, and do it in such a way that the safety of co-workers, the public, and property is not threatened.
There are legal ramifications for employers to consider before requiring the employee to submit to an exam that will determine their fitness for duty. Based upon objective evidence, the employer must have a reasonable belief that a medical condition will adversely affect the employee’s ability to perform the duties of their job, or the medical condition poses a direct threat to the safety of others. The fit for duty exam cannot be used to determine if the employee is disabled, nor the severity of the medical condition. However, the fit for duty exam can be used to help assess if the employee can safely perform the responsibilities of their job.
Under these guidelines, an employer could require a fitness for duty examination when it has first-hand knowledge of an employee’s medical condition, has observed concerning behaviors that relate to the performance of the employee’s job duties, and can rationally and reasonably attribute those concerns to the medical condition.
How is “Fit For Duty” Exam Done at SNOHC?
SNOHC has a guideline to follow when trying to determine if the patient can be cleared to return to work. For example, let’s consider a patient who has a history of high blood pressure. That person’s blood pressure has to be less than 140 in order to receive a 1-year clearance for work. But, if the person does not have a history of high blood pressure, then they can a 2-year clearance to return to work. Other medical conditions have similar guidelines for the patient to return to work. Fit for duty as defined by Occupational Safety and Health Administration is an individual that is fit physically, mentally, emotionally, who can perform the job that is assigned in the manner that will not threaten oneself safety, the co-workers or the public in general. This evaluation is ordered if there is an extenuating circumstance that the employee deems necessary to have an evaluation, that is to assess for the safety of the employee and the people around the employee. This evaluation is by no means to be used as a way to assess the disability of a person or the severity of the disability. There is a wide range of fit for duty physical exams performed at SNOHC such as:
RETURN TO WORK PHYSICAL EXAM
This exam is usually taken by the employee who was on leave. This test can be conducted to see if the employee is fit to continue after the leave. Many employees undergo severe injuries and they have to be tested to see if they can handle the physical demands of the occupation.
JOB PERFORMANCE PHYSICAL EXAM
This test is conducted to evaluate the physical and mental performance of an employee on a job. It is to ensure if the employee has the intellectual and physical capabilities to handle the physical and mental work pressure. It also evaluates the job performance of an employee in comparison to other employees.
POST OFFER PHYSICAL EXAM
They are also known as pre-placement assessments. They are taken by the candidates who have been selected for the job. It is a basic physical exam in which a person is assessed by assigning him a few physical tasks related to the occupation. It is to determine if the candidate has the ability to handle the physical demands of the job.