Post-offer/pre-hire testing is not something to be taken lightly, explains Connie Miller, vice president of Colorado-based BTE Technologies Inc., a provider of advanced solutions for testing and rehabilitation. It is highly technical and highly regulated, but the results are often dramatic.
"It's a really good investment for employers who still see a lot of injuries, even if they are declining, or employers who see high severity musculoskeletal claims," Miller said. "The net return is typical in the first year -- often two to three times what they spend on the program, and that's highly conservative."
BTE develops individualized post-offer test protocols for its clients. "We take our own technology on-site to the employer, measure the physical demands of the job, and build the test protocol based on what is required for the essential functions of the job," Miller said.
The tests are part of a conditional offer of employment, similar to drug and alcohol screening. Typically, 15 to 20 percent of job candidates fail the post-offer tests.
"The job candidates who fail generally do not pass the job requirements for strength and endurance," Miller said. "Occasionally job candidates are unable to meet the cardiovascular requirements for test completion. Many times job candidates who present for testing are not aware they have a cardiac issue."
Miller says post-offer testing is a win for the employer and the applicant. "When injuries are prevented, the employee and employer both come out ahead. Many job candidates are not fully aware of the demands of a job at the time of application and simply may not be able to perform these functions," she said. "Turnover in the first few weeks of work due to heavy job requirements is often avoided."
Many companies have a policy allowing applicants to be retested after a certain period of time. So, for example, someone identified with a cardiac condition could submit to the post-offer test after seeking medical care.
Unlike drug testing, which aims to weed out substance abusers from the hiring pool, the goals of post-offer testing are to reduce the number of injuries and lower the severity. Often the process of developing the tests results in ergonomic changes that keep employees safer.
"When we analyze jobs to develop the test protocols, we identify ergonomic issues and solutions," Miller said. "Reducing the demands of job tasks with ergonomic intervention can reduce the job requirements necessary to perform the work."
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November 29, 2010
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