A fit for duty test can be a crucial component of a company’s plan to reduce workers’ compensation costs.
If you are concerned that a current working employee has arrived at work with an injury, as the employer you can send that employee for a fit for duty test to make sure the employee is safely capable of working and reducing the chance of that person submitting a workers’ compensation claim.
Additionally, offering a fit for work test to an employee that is returning from a personal medical leave of absence should be considered if there is a concern over the person’s abilities to safely return to a job that may be physically demanding.
Take the guess work out of the equation
A fit for duty test helps an employer:
- Confirm condition
- Confirm ability/inability to do regular or light duty-work
- Confirm need/length of leave time
- Confirm ability to return to work at conclusion of absence
- Deter abuse of medical leave time, Clarify/rebut treating provider’s opinion, Clarify employee ability to perform particular job by use of healthcare provider well-informed about workplace, job functions
- Help fulfill “interactive process” obligation under ADA
- Provide work limitations to be followed upon return to work in order to avoid a compensable injury/reinjury
- Uncover fraud
PROACTIVE STEPS FOR COMPANIES
Some proactive steps should be taken by a company prior to implementing fit for duty testing.
A company should have a written policy in place so that employees are aware that they may be subject to fit for duty testing.
Here are some additional aspects for a company to consider:
- The determination of whether or not to perform an exam should be consistent with business necessity. This standard will generally be met if the employer has a reasonable belief that:
- the employee's condition may prevent the employee from performing the job's essential functions, or
- the employee poses a direct threat to his or her own safety or the safety of others.
- No return-to-work physicals unless notice of requirement given at outset of leave
- Return-to-work physical examinations, even if appropriate notice is provided, must be required of all other similarly situated employees returning to work from FMLA leaves.
By implementing fit for duty testing, you can expect a great return on investment.
Please contact me at WORKready for further information on how to implement fit for duty testing with your company.
Supervisor of On-site Services