[IPAC-List] Pre-offer vs. Post-offer physical testing

Reindl, Kevin KReindl at semprautilities.com
Fri Feb 11 12:11:11 EST 2011

We've recently validated a physical abilities test for a wide variety of physically demanding jobs (basic upper body, abdominal, trunk strength tests). The criterion-validity study was solid and we use this testing as part of the regular pre-offer/pre-employment testing process along with other tests (cognitive/personality) that are all administered by our staffing departments.

We've also recently started a project to implement more extensive post-offer "physical testing" aimed at identifying not only the ability to perform essential functions, but also identifying pre-existing conditions that may lead to injuries/safety incidents on the job. This testing will be administered by an "occupational health" vendor who will also look at medical history/injuries, etc. There seem to be a lot of vendors that claim to be able to identify people who are at risk of developing repetitive motion (e.g., carpal tunnel) and other types of injuries. The idea is to identify these candidates and then rescind the job offer and/or obtain documentation of pre-existing conditions to ward off potential future worker's compensation claims.

While I've done a bit of research/lit review on the subject, I'd be interested to know if anyone out there has any recent experiences they could share or good resources (journal articles/books/white papers) that discuss the differences, approaches, processes, and possibly the legal challenges between physical ability testing at the pre-offer/pre-employment vs. physical/medical exams at the post-offer/pre-employment stage of the hiring process.

Thanks in advance.

Kevin Reindl
Senior Human Resources Research & Analysis Advisor
San Diego Gas & Electric
Human Resources
8306 Century Park Court, CP41A
San Diego, CA 92123-1530
Tel: 858-654-1823
Fax: 858-654-1515
Email: kreindl at semprautilities.com<mailto:kreindl at semprautilities.com>

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