Employers have a golden opportunity, through the use of job-related medical standards, evidence-based, occupational health expert evaluations and easy to use, Web-based IT support systems to properly place applicants and employees. It is an ideal time for businesses to review their current occupational health, safety and medical examination programs and to update them, not only to be compliant with regulatory requirements including the Americans with Disabilities and The Family Medical Leave Acts, but also to enhance their overall safety and health effectiveness, meet OSHA and other workplace and/or corporate requirements, enhance productivity and effectively manage workers' compensation, health benefits and related costs.
There are three basic reasons employers should, and in many instances, are required to provide medical evaluations for prospective applicants and current employees:
- Initial and continued placement (fitness-for-duty and return-to-work after illness/injury);
- Detection of potential adverse health effects from job related functions (medical monitoring and surveillance); and
- Health promotion and disease management
Medical standards are the foundation for effective employee fitness for duty programs, including post-offer, return to work, regulatory, disability, and concern-related medical evaluations. Medical Standards provide detailed information on the essential job functions and associated medical requirements of a job. When utilized as a key component of employee medical exam programs, medical standards provide the ADA/EEOC-compliant factual basis for employee fitness for duty determinations in the full range of circumstances and ensure consistency of approach across the organization.
The Examination Protocol
Once medical standards are developed, an examination protocol can be established that is targeted to provide the medical information necessary to determine if a given individual meets the standards for a specific job. As always, clinical judgment is essential and, therefore, all evaluating physicians must have an intimate knowledge of covered jobs, critical job task factors and their related medical standards. Depending on the exact physical requirements, exposures, environmental conditions, regulatory requirements, etc., the examination can include among other items:
- Occupational and medical history
- Physical examination
- Spirometry (Pulmonary testing)
- Blood and urine testing
- Vision screening
- Chest x-ray
- Job-specific strength and endurance testing
For more information or to speak with a SOMA professional to see how we can assist your organization meet its Occupational Health and Safety goals, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org