Small Business Tips Blog
When the economy is back in the black, the job pool that consistently deepens before any other is in the trades and skilled labour market. The scramble for employers and contractors to fill positions is akin to the race to make an offer on a house when the buyers’ market is about to lean in the sellers’ favour.
Applicants for skilled labour and trades work often have resumes indicating they have the skill, education, and experience to fulfill the job, and, via references, you learn more about the applicant’s qualifications and character; however, employers know nothing about previous and current injuries that may turn out to be a detriment to their safety and others they work with.
In a Fit-for-Duty test, applicants are physically assessed based on a PDA, or Physical Demands Analysis. A PDA takes into account all the essential and non-essential tasks of a job, and the environment in which that job is completed. Knowing the physical capabilities and limitations of your applicants before you hire them can reduce the number of safety incidents and WCB lost-time claims on work sites in a multitude of industries, including construction and oil field. For example, if an electrician needs to be capable of heavy lifting for cable pull, Fit-for-Duty testing ensures the applicant can lift the necessary weight before they are hired, and does not have any previous injuries that will lead to further injury, or a safety hazard.
Fit for Duty also enables an employer to place an applicant in a job where they can succeed. If employers are aware of an applicant’s physical capabilities and limitations, they can accommodate the applicant once they are on site. For example, if they have a previous knee injury, climbing scaffolding may not be the best fit for that employee.
Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Act states, both employers and employees have obligations to keep a worksite clear of hazards. In particular, an employer’s responsibilities are to ensure that workers at a worksite are aware of their responsibilities and to have a strategy in place that controls and eliminates hazards regularly.
In reducing safety incidents and WCB lost-time claims, employers keep productivity and team morale high, as well as help bottom line. It is expensive to find and train new hires.
In a physically demanding environment, where poor job performance can lead to safety incidents and injury, and sometimes death, a Fit-for-Duty test is as valuable as checking a candidate’s references and field experience. With a Fit-for-Duty test, employers maximize their knowledge about an applicant before they hire.
Next week: what to look for when you are shopping for a Fit-for-Duty occupational testing provider.