Workers’ Compensation Insurance (WC) is designed to protect employers and employees from financial loss when an employee is injured on the job or becomes ill from a work-related cause.
It bears repeating that WC is meant for WORK-RELATED illnesses and injuries.
But consider this, according to AARP, more than 19 million working Americans between the ages of 21 and 64 have some physical limitation that could affect their ability to perform certain tasks. According to the CDC, the most common type of disability (one in seven adults) affects mobility, and with age, disabilities become more common.
That means there’s about a 10% chance that a potential new-hire could have a pre-existing impairment – knowingly or unknowingly - that could put them at risk for an injury.
While that person should still be able to get whatever benefits they are entitled to, his or her employer should not be responsible for paying for an injury caused by a condition the employee had before they were hired. But how would you know if a potential hire has a pre-existing impairment? A pre-employment human performance evaluation (HPE)!
The Americans with Disabilities Act allows employers to physically and medically evaluate their workers at all stages of their employment. After an individual is offered a job, the employer can make the job contingent on several things, such as a background check, drug test, and pre-employment testing.
Keep in mind that The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) cautions, “Pre-employment tests need to be selected and monitored with care; employers run the risk of litigation if a selection decision is challenged and determined to be discriminatory or in violation of state or federal regulations. Tests used in the selection process must be legal, reliable, valid, and equitable, and HR professionals need to stay aware of any developing trends.”
What is a Pre-Employment Human Performance Evaluation?
The pre-employment HPE (also called a pre-placement test) is a standardized test often conducted in a physical therapy or occupational medical clinic. It helps companies get an overview of the prospective employee’s overall health status and make better choices when hiring new candidates.
An HPE can do the following:
- Assure employers that the prospective employee is physically able to perform a job safely
- Protect employers from WC injury claims that are not work-related, but the result of a pre-existing impairment
- Protect employees from injuries while performing jobs they should not be doing due to a pre-existing impairment
- Protect the employees’ co-workers
According to Concentra, a national health care company, information commonly collected during this test includes:
- A review of the workers’ medical and occupational history
- A medical exam
- An evaluation of functional tasks such as lifting, carrying, pushing, and pulling
The test can also be used to establish a baseline so an employer can monitor any changes in the employee’s health over time and use it for future reference in the event of an injury. This information often shows that only part of an employee’s injury is caused by his or her current work.
For example, an HPE may reveal that a worker has a 5% impairment in his or her shoulder. If that employee is injured and is determined to have a 7% impairment, the employer would only be responsible for the additional 2% impairment under Workers’ Compensation insurance.
Employers don’t want to pay for injuries or illnesses that were not caused on the job, and a pre-employment HPE – that follows all legal requirements – can help minimize that risk.
Lower Your Workers’ Compensation Insurance Costs!
Another way to save on WC costs is to work with one of the experienced agents at American Insuring Group. We specialize in WC insurance, and we're independent agents, which frees us to quote lots of competing insurance providers so that you get the right coverage at the best price.
Call us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.