Often production demands in Industrial workplaces ebb and flow. When they flow, employers may have to bring in more man power to quickly meet the rising demand for product. Many Industrial workplaces struggle with trying to find the right people for the job, when bulk hires are required. HR reps can be challenged with first finding enough suitable applicants to interview and offer positions to, hoping they meet the skills and abilities criteria.
According to Statistics Canada, Manufacturing Companies have the highest work related injuries among industries, with Manitoba having the highest in the country. In addition, Injuries usually occur within the first 6 months of employment, putting these new hires at risk of injury, lost time and disability. Finding the right people for the job involves more than just interviewing folks with the appropriate work experience and skills; it also includes ensuring these potential new hires can manage the physical demands of the job.
Post-offer Pre-placement Testing (POPPT) is an objective process to ensure the potential worker has the physical capabilities to perform the job. It is a proven method for screening potential new hires that have been given a conditional offer of employment, while securing the employment is dependent of the passing of a customized test, which includes simulation or actual carrying out of the essential job tasks.
Usually testing is administered for only the most physically demanding jobs, or jobs with the highest rates of injuries. The testing has to be administered to all applicants, as testing only those who you suspect may not be able to do the physical tasks, is discrimination according to ADA. A policy should be developed to outline those identified positions that testing will be conducted for, as well as outline if Fit For Duty Testing will be done every 2, 5, or other specified year period, to ensure current employees are still able to safely do their work.
Post Offer Pre-placement Testing assists the employer:
-during the hiring phase, by minimizing poor placement decisions, determining true level of function, compared to the job demands and ensuring the potential hires are able to safely conduct the work.
-with Fit For Duty Testing done regularly for identified positions to ensure employees are still able to safely conduct their jobs.
-when an employee has been injured, the level of disability compared to POPPT results can help determine entitlement by examining level of function prior to the injury.
-in the rehabilitation process by knowing previous level of functioning.
-by Reducing Escalating Costs associated with injuries.
-by using best practices to keep up with changing labour legislative focus.
-to maintain a team of healthy workers supported by strong injury prevention initiatives.
A professional occupational therapist develops, conducts and scores the testing to ensure reliability and validity of the standardization for all testing. The pass/fail results are provided to the employer who is then responsible for communicating the results to the potential new hires. Between this Pre-employment testing, Work Safe Education and Orientation, and Ergonomic Assessments for new hires, your HR reps, Health and Safety Officers are truly embracing a preventative approach to protecting employees from costly injuries at work.
Marnie Courage, OT Reg.(MB)