Health and Fitness

Pre-Employment Physicals: What are they?

People now realize that they should make sure they are healthy before heading to work. People have become more aware of the dangers of spreading illnesses while feeling ill in the workplace as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although it may be true that work can sometimes make you sick, not all health concerns have to do with respiratory infections. Some jobs—such as firefighting—can actually involve your life depending on whether or not you are physically fit and able to perform the job duties. In these cases, pre-employment medical assessments are a good idea in order to determine whether you are capable of performing the job.

What is a Pre-Employment Physical?

It is crucial that you hire the most qualified candidate for an open position, especially if the job’s physical requirements are high or if work-related stress has a negative impact on some candidates’ health. Performing physical and mental capabilities tests on potential new hires can play a crucial role in the hiring process. There is a particularly high rate of job stress and demands in police and fire departments.

Physicals are required to maintain a commercial driving license in order to ensure the driver is fit to operate an automobile safely.

 A Human Performance Evaluation, or HPE, is an option for employers who don’t want their potential employees to undergo a physical examination. 

While employers cannot require pre-employment physicals, there are other forms of medical testing allowed by the Department of Transportation for those that drive for a living. Employers can randomly test their employees for drug use to ensure a safe work environment.

Pre-employment physical testing to determine the fitness of job candidates requires familiarity with the job requirements and limitations. This type of exam should not be confused with a yearly checkup—physicals for employment purposes are typically performed by medical professionals who regularly conduct them.

Impact of Pre-Employment Screening on Discrimination

There are important rules regarding discrimination during the hiring process under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In accordance with the ADA, employers are not permitted to discriminate against employees on the basis of their gender or ethnicity. Even though the ADA protects against discrimination on the basis of gender or race, health concerns are a gray area.

 Employers are not permitted to consider candidates’ medical history, physical ability, and other matters when evaluating them for a job. In some instances, a physical limitation can preclude a candidate from being qualified for a job due to the physical requirements. Physical exams are designed to identify areas where a person’s physical ability, mental state, or addictions to alcohol or drugs might put themselves or others at risk or render them unable to perform the tasks required for the specific job.

A Pre-Employment Physical Exam Includes What?

 A pre-employment physical includes a number of tests, depending on the type of job you are applying for. Typically, a battery of tests will be performed in addition to a basic medical exam. These tests will cover many different aspects of your physical and mental health, as well as drug tests in some cases. Some of the tests likely to be performed include:

  • Heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature are basic vital signs
  • An abdominal exam covering digestion, liver, and other organs
  • A lung and heart examination
  • Skin examination to detect potential issues or signs of underlying diseases
  • Alcohol and drug screenings
  • Test your vision
  • Conservation of hearing or audiometry tests
  • Testing for TB
  • Tests of the blood and other lab tests

Pre-Employment Physicals: Can You Fail Them?

 The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) stipulates that employers make reasonable accommodations for employees who have physical limitations. However, there are limitations on these accommodations, as pre-employment physicals exist to ensure a potential new hire is fit for the job they are applying for. As a result, it is possible that someone who does not meet the job requirements may indeed fail a pre-employment physical.

 If a candidate fails a pre-employment physical or HPE, it can be for a number of reasons. If a candidate fails a drug or alcohol test, however, that person may not pass the exam. This is particularly common for jobs involving driving or operating heavy machinery where sobriety is of paramount importance.

 To ensure that a physical exam goes smoothly, prospective employees can bring a few items to make the experience easier. This includes any assistive devices such as hearing aids, glasses, or similar. Additionally, having records of past medical conditions, surgeries, allergies, or current medications can be helpful. It is also a good idea to have any paperwork detailing specific tests that need to be performed related to the potential new job.

Where Can Pre-Employment Testing Be Done?

If you want to get the pre-employment test done, contact PCP Works. Their PCP Testing System is used by medical teams for post-offer or pre-employment physical exams. Contact now!