Employers rely on fit-for-duty exams (or fit-for-duty tests) to make sure their workers can safely perform specific jobs. These exams are an essential part of workplace safety and safe return to work. Fit-for-duty exams can be performed for employees who are working or who are returning to work.
When fit-for-duty exams are performed for return to work, they’re often called “return-to-work exams.” An employer may want a fit-for-duty exam for an employee who is completing treatment and is ready to return to work after a serious illness or injury. The information captured on a return-to-work application assists employers in understanding if the employee can safely perform their job again, and they can return to work without risking re-injury.
Understanding Fit for Duty
Sometimes, employers may worry that an employee’s medical condition makes it unsafe for them to perform their job. A fit-for-duty exam determines if the employee is physically and/or psychologically able to safely perform their current role. These specialized exams are typically reserved for more labor-intensive roles, and the exams are unique to each employer and their positions. What’s examined depends can be customized to an employee’s role and unique circumstances. This may include lifting heavy objects overhead, crouching and bending for prolonged periods of time, and maneuvering into small spaces.