Is Your Workforce Fit For Work?

Is Your Workforce Fit For Work? Picking the Right Screening Tools For Your Business

Are your employees fit to perform the inherent requirements of the role or tasks required of them?

Fitness for Duty Assessments (FFD) and Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCE) are a great way to determine overall fitness for work. These assessments also have the additional tangible benefit of providing stakeholders with clear and objective guidelines regarding an individual’s ability to carry out the inherent requirements of their role.

But the question is, what type of assessment do you need? FFD or FCE??


What is a Fitness for Duty Assessment?

It’s important to note that a Fitness for Duty Assessment is very different to a Functional Capacity Assessment, a Fitness Screening or a Functional Movement Screen. A FDD is performed on a worker that has sustained an injury or illness, to determine their ability to return to work.

Performing a Fitness for Duty Assessment is a legal right for employers, though a refusal to attend one may not necessarily be grounds for termination. They usually consist of a one on one consultation with an Occupational Health Professional. There are many different types of assessments, and they can be carried out for a number of different reasons.

For example, if a worker is recovering from a non-work related injury, and has been given the all clear to return to work by their doctor, but you still doubt his readiness, you may look to have a FFD completed prior to that individual returning to work. This situation may arise when an employee’s doctor is unaware of the specific demands of a particular employee’s job.

If you’re concerned that an employee can no longer do the essential requirements of the job, you can perform a fitness for duty assessment. Mental illness is often a factor in these types of FFD’s, and should be taken very seriously. Each year, approximately one in five Australians will experience a mental illness.

The ultimate goal of a Fitness for Duty Assessment is to determine whether or not a worker is fit and able to perform the inherent requirements of the role. You are essentially asking “Does the worker have a medical condition that poses a direct threat to the safety and health of the worker or to the people around the worker?” You can easily achieve this goal by keeping in mind the following two key points:

  1. Every case is individual. Just because an individual has a particular medical history that may have impeded his job performance does not mean that another individual with a similar condition will have the same issues.
  2. Information, information, information. The more information the medical professional assessing your employee has, the better his evaluation will be. Be sure to share detailed job descriptions, medical history, and even phone records that concern the worker’s ability to perform.


Functional Capacity Evaluation

A Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE), is a series of standardised tests used to assess a worker’s functional capacities for work or perform a given task. The aim of the evaluation is to determine the individual’s ability over a range of physical demands in order to facilitate his or her functional recovery and return to work. FCE should include task specific measures to ensure that the individual is physically fit to perform their task.

FCE’s are generally used as part of the return to work process and mainly used in relation to musculoskeletal injuries or injuries that are physical in nature.


So where do Fitness Assessments and Functional Movement Screens, fit in?

If you are looking to improve the overall functional fitness of your workforce, rather than asses the individual fitness of a specific worker, a fitness assessments and functional movement screen is the best assessments to use.

A Functional Movement Screen assesses seven basic movement patterns to identify tightness and weakness in the body – so you can correct them before they cause major problems, while a workplace Fitness Assessment involves an examination of a much broader range of criteria, including posture, range of movement, strength, back fitness, manual handling, and Cardiovascular fitness.

The Functional Movement Screen has recently gained popularity among trainers, chiropractors and physiotherapists because it’s scored simply, gives a good baseline of abilities and, through rescreening, provides a consistent measure of progress. It’s something that you can very quickly and easily use to assess the physical capabilities of your workforce.

At the end of the day, it’s important to select the right type of assessment base on the outcome you are looking to achieve. You might needs to explore Fitness for Duty Assessments (FFD, Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCE) or Functional Movement Screening (FMS) If you are unsure what type of assessment you need, the team at Bodycare can help.