[IPAC-List] Medical testing to assess fitness to take physical abiltiiy test

Blair, Michael D Michael.D.Blair at CenturyLink.com
Thu Jun 3 18:03:01 EDT 2010

Jim -

This is an odd one. Ordinarily, a non-medical pre-employment physical ability test would be administered as part of the pre-hire assessment process (for example, a firefighter work sample ability test). A medical fitness test is a post-offer test. So, by adding the medical fitness test as a precursor to the physical ability work sample test, the employer is pushing the work-sample pre-hire assessment to a post-offer stage.

In the situation described, the post-offer medical exam to measure fitness to participate in the work sample physical ability test is a selection tool and covered by the uniform guidelines. [Medical fitness tests in general are covered by the uniform guidelines.] It will be used to screen candidates out of the work sample test, which (presumably) must be passed for the job offer to withstand. Validating the medical fitness test would be prudent.

>From a testing perspective, I think your client should consider an alternative to the two-stage medical fitness followed by work sample physical ability. The test can be combined into one assessment. The first station could be the fitness test. Subsequent stations could be the work sample components. The fitness component would still need to be validated, but it would streamline the process some.

Michael Blair
Strategic Staffing Leader
Voice: 913-345-6334 | Cell: 913-832-6130 | Fax: 913-345-6417
Email: Michael.D.Blair at centurylink.com
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/blairmichaeld

-----Original Message-----
From: ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org [mailto:ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org] On Behalf Of Jim Kuthy
Sent: Thursday, June 03, 2010 4:21 PM
To: ipac-list at ipacweb.org
Subject: [IPAC-List] Medical testing to assess fitness to take physical abiltiiy test

We were recently approached by a client who wants to administer a post-offer medical exam to determine whether job candidates are physically fit enough to safely take a work-sample physical ability test. (They are very worried about unfit candidates suffering medical consequences while taking the physical ability test).

Part of the medical exam consists of a "step test" to measure cardiac fitness. One of the job tasks includes carrying 30-pound tool bags up several flights of steps (a maximum of five flights of steps), which would appear to require cardiac fitness. The work-sample physical ability test is proposed to include an exercise which requires job candidates to lift and carry a 30-pound weight for 100 feet to simulate the climbing of stairs. (This national employer tests at multiple locations around the country and does not wish to have to build sets of stairs to measure a person's ability to climb stairs while carrying the weighed tool bag, so instead wants to test candidates on a flat surface). However, they are fearful that unfit candidates may injure themselves while performing this physical ability test exercise, and thus want to measure cardiac fitness prior to testing.

Can an employer measure cardiac fitness using a medically-based step test to determine whether a job candidate is sufficiently fit to perform a carrying task during pre-employment testing (which has been validated in accordance with the Uniform Guidelines) if the medically-based step test itself has not been validated in accordance with the Uniform Guidelines?


Jim Kuthy, Ph.D.

Biddle Consulting Group, Inc.

Principal Consultant and Director of Product Development

CritiCall Pre-Employment Testing Software

193 Blue Ravine Road, Suite 270, Folsom, CA 95630

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