Worker Fitness Exams in the Long Term Care Industry…
Are They Worth the Investment?
When it comes to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), the long-term care (LTC) industry experiences a unique set of workplace circumstances that create the perfect storm for increasing both the frequency of injuries and the cost to the industry. The following facts describe the makeup of the storm:
- Many jobs within the long-term care industry expose the worker to both repetitive and forceful physical demands.
- The long-term care industry experiences one of the highest work related injury rates among all workplace sectors.
- The long-term care industry experiences a high level of turnover on an annual basis.
- Many newly hired employees are not physically fit enough for the challenge of unfamiliar and physically demanding tasks.
A report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that health-care workers have injury rates that equal or exceed rates in other industries that are traditionally considered hazardous.
A Worker Fitness Exam is one element of an ergonomics program that when deployed appropriately, matches the worker’s physical abilities with the predetermined physical demands of the job. The physical evaluation of potential employees is useful for injury prevention when the assessment is directly tied to the physical requirements of the job. At WorkerFIT we maximize the benefits through the following steps:
- The process starts with a functional job analysis (FJA) of each job to get objective measures of the physical requirements of each task within the job.
- From the FJA a task specific Worker Fitness Exam is developed.
- Exams are conducted with all new hires and employees returning to work.
- New hires that pass the exam are approved for work. If required, support is provided to develop the physical skills to engage in the work; or they can be directed to other roles.
The Positive (ROI) return on investment for WorkerFIT fitness exams ranges from $6-$18 for every $1 spent on the process. Employers reported a reduction in injury related time away from work; reduction in cost for paid time-off, reduction in expenditures for medical treatment and rehabilitation, and a reduction in employee turnover. Matching workers to jobs for which they are physically fit, makes sense for both the employer and the employee.