With an aging workforce, many with limited retirement options, it is natural to see an increase in chronic, age-related, and non-occupational illnesses and injuries. This is turn has the potential of employers taking responsibility for non-work related issues that could have been detected and avoided if the proper gate checks were in place.
It is therefore important to recognize the available options for pre-placement/post-offer health screenings that include functional capacity testing. Identifying pre-existing disease and injury is key to avoiding potential on-the-job injuries, chronic injuries that present themselves on the job, and undiagnosed chronic medical diseases. How many times have we witnessed an employee routinely walking at work, says he/she has knee pain with no specific injury, but now has a meniscal tear? Or the employee that has a rotator cuff tear but wasn't doing anything at work that could have caused this?
In essence, a basic drug test and heart/lung may not, and is often not an accurate way to determine an employee's complete fitness for duty. A thorough examination utilizing the best methods available to reproduce the job demands required is needed to fully determine fitness-for duty.
In this discussion, we will examine the most recent statistics in occupational fatality, injury and illness. We will also look into the current standards in post-offer examinations and illustrate options that are available to reduce the injury and fatality statistics.
The most recent labor statistics give us a clear understanding of the mechanisms, and frequency of work-related injuries and fatalities. Overall, the numbers did not change much from the 2012. The list below shows the individual causes
4405 total work related fatalities
1740 of the total fatalities related to transportation mechanisms
753 violence related
717 blunt force trauma
330 exposure to harmful substances or environment
148 fires and explosions
Demographics show the majority of fatalities are among white, middle to late aged men