The Value of Post-Offer/Pre-Employment Physicals for Workers’ Comp
Have you ever felt like you “hired a big Workers’ Compensation claim”? If a relatively new employee files a Workers’ Compensation claim that is linked to a pre-existing injury or condition prior to your employment (work-related or not), it is usually picked up by your Work Comp carrier. Now this claim is free to damage your e-Mod and the cost of Work Comp. That doesn’t seem fair, but it is how the system typically works.
Employers can make even more of a dent in containing costs by starting with the hiring process and implementing a post-offer/pre-employment physical procedure to ensure new hires are physically qualified for the position. This can go a long way in mitigating the possibility of inheriting a Work Comp claim. It’s a cost/benefit calculation.
Compliance Is Critical: “Post Offer” Exams
The goal of a post-offer/pre-employment physical is to ensure the individual is physically capable of performing the job. Pre-employment examinations typically include a physical exam in addition to inquiries made about the individual’s health. Employers are also allowed to set fitness and health requirements for a job, common for physically demanding roles such as construction workers.
With a post-offer/pre-employment physical as part of the hiring and onboarding process, an employer can help avoid the potential of existing injuries or physical restrictions becoming Workers’ Comp claims. It’s important, however, that employers ensure that they are ADA- and EEOC-compliant and do not discriminate against anyone because of a qualified disability. The ADA, for example, disallows employers from requiring a physical examination before extending a job offer. However, employers are allowed to require an exam after a conditional job offer is accepted. Strong Tower provides clients with access to a network of HR attorneys on retainer to obtain advice and ensure compliance.
If during the physical, it’s determined that the individual has a physical injury, such as lower back strain, the employer can request that the issue be resolved before starting work. The job offer is still valid with the pre-requisite that the potential hire goes through treatment with a physician who then acknowledges that the treatment has been completed and signs off that the individual is ready to begin work. The employer is not pulling the offer, but ensuring the issue is resolved.
In addition, some companies perform post-offer/pre-employment physicals over the phone. They speak with potential employees who are typically candid and honest about their physical ailments. In digging further into their prospects’ issues, companies can then refer them for in-person physician visits if needed.
Employers should conduct a cost-based analysis to weigh the expense involved in performing post-offer/pre-employment physicals to avoid at-risk individuals who aren’t ready to start versus the premium costs associated with these claims. The math should show you which way to go.
A robust safety program, a telephonic nurse triage program, a strong return-to-work program, and other risk-mitigation strategies all contribute in helping to contain Workers’ Compensation costs and improve claim outcomes.
The Workers’ Compensation specialists at Strong Tower are available to speak with you in more detail about implementing post-offer/pre-employment physicals as part of your HR process.
Just call us at 866-822-6774.