Is Fit for Duty Exams the Best Solution for Workers’ Compensation Claims?

When it comes to physical labor, the chance of injury of a worker is very high. In the unlikely event of injury, you will lose a quality employee, and you will need to file a workers’ compensation claim. Under workers’ comp claim laws, the injured worker may be eligible for wage loss up to 104 weeks and treatment expenses paid throughout the injured worker’s lifetime.

A Fit for Duty exam is one way to decrease the risk of workers’ compensation claims while ensuring more safety for your employees. Although most companies do not undergo Fit for Duty tests, it is the most effective tool to expedite workers’ comp claim resolution and bring your employees back to work safely.

Types of Fit for Duty Exams

The following are a few types of Fit for Duty exams.

Job Performance Exam

It is conducted when you are worried about whether an employee can perform the essential job functions with optimum results.

Return to Work Exam

It is conducted if you suspect employees’ physical readiness to work after an injury, even though they are reported to be fit by their doctor.

Post-Offer Physical Exams (Pre-Placement Exams)

These exams include physical abilities tests, drug screening, musculoskeletal assessment, and medical surveillance.

When Is a Fit for Duty Exam Conducted?

An employer conducts this test if their injured employees’ condition may:

  • Put their or other employees’ safety at risk.
  • Prevent the employee from doing essential job functions.

Under the American Disabilities Act, employers can conduct the Fit for Duty exams in the following scenarios:

  • On-requirement basis. For example, if an employee complains of difficulties in performing essential job functions.
  • When a disabled or injured employee wants to return to work.
  • While performing regular check-ups (as part of the company policy) to determine employees’ fitness levels.
  • Voluntary testing by employees in a company-sponsored event.

Benefits of Fit for Duty Exams

Make Sure Injured Workers Can Get Back to Work

These exams minimize the chances of further injuries while creating a safer workplace. They ensure that the injured workers are in proper health and shape to return to work within their usual and customary or permanent modified/alternate positions and are less likely to re-injure themselves. In addition, with advice from the doctor, you can reinstate the injured worker soon under temporary restrictions, safely.

Make Sure Workers Do Not Undergo Injury While at Work

If an employee is injured on the job, they can file a workers’ compensation claim against the company. To ensure that it does not happen, you may utilize your industrial clinic for a Fit for Duty exam to make sure that workers are capable of undergoing arduous tasks.

If you have doubts that a person may be unable to perform a task, you can ask them to undergo a few tests to ensure they are medically and physically fit to continue the job. You may also have a pre-assigned routine check-up of workers to ensure they are not at any risk.

Helps to Find the Root Cause of the Problem and Its Extent

The most crucial benefit of undergoing Fitness for Duty exams is that they help understand the patient’s scope of the injury and its source. You can determine if an employee malingers to void return to full duty or temporary modified/alternate duty by comparing post-injury data. Furthermore, you will be able to understand the cause and severity of the injury and the necessary treatment.

It is essential to have a Fit for Duty exam to ensure proper work practices under occupationally hazardous conditions. However, you are also required to have a workers’ compensation insurance policy that covers the medical costs and safeguard your company’s interests. Contact our experts at Knight Insurance Services for all your insurance needs in La Canada, California.

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