All you need to know about the Fit for Duty Exam

What is fit for duty?

What does fit for duty mean? Fit for Duty (FFD) consists of an exam in which an employee’s physical, physiological, and psychological state is tested to evaluate how the employer can safely perform assigned tasks. Therefore, based on fit for duty definition, it is determined whether the employee can cope with the assigned tasks or not.

 

Safety-sensitive position/duties /task

The safety-sensitive position is any duty, which if not completed safely, poses a risk to the following:

  • Employer
  • Co-workers
  • The general public
  • The environment
  • The workplace

The safety-sensitive jobs include but not limited to:

  • At-height work
  • Transportation
  • Dealing with the hazardous material
  • Operating equipment and heavy machines
Fit for Duty

Fit for Duty Policy

According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), the Fit for Duty exam determines if the worker is emotionally, physically, and mentally ready to do the job. Fit for duty assessment is necessary for all employees, especially those who perform safety-sensitive tasks. By OSHA, it is illegal to conduct examinations for job candidates before hiring. An employer is only allowed to request a fit for duty medical examination only after the candidate is hired for the selected position.

 

What are the Reasons for Requesting a Fitness for Duty Evaluation?

The goal of fit for duty evaluations is to determine whether a worker can meet a job/duty’s demands. Employers need to protect themselves and the employee and prevent possible risks by determining if an employee can safely perform the job’s requirements.

 

What does the Fit for Duty examination evaluate?

A Fit for Duty test is a series of medical and physical testing designed to match a candidate’s physical and mental abilities with the intended job. In the Fit for Duty examination, the following items are assessed:

  • Physical requirements: vision, hearing, etc
  • Physiological conditions: fatigue, alcohol and drugs, workplace exposures, etc
  • Psychological condition: risk tolerance, culture, emotional state, etc

 

Different types of Fitness for Duty Exam in Las Vegas

1.) Going back to work: Implemented to know if an employee is ready to come back after an injury.

2.) Job performance: Executed to know if an employee can perform the essential functions of the job.

3.) Post-offer physical examinations: also called pre-placement exams, includes a comprehensive questionnaire for an employee to complete drug screen, and physical testing.

 

What are the potential outcomes of a Fitness for Duty Evaluation?

By hiring employees who are qualified for the job, employers can enjoy many benefits, such as:

  • Reducing the cost of employee turnover
  • Reducing injuries
  • Gathering baseline data
  • Increase employee retention
  • Optimize productivity

 

Why Fit for Duty test need to be done?

By doing this test, the employer will find out if the worker can work safely and not endanger herself or others.

 

Is Fit for Duty (FFD) Exam Legal?

Fit for Duty testing is legal. Employers do have a legal right to be sure that employees will perform the tasks safely.

By the Americans with Disabilities Act, disability cannot prevent a worker from doing the job’s essential functions, and employers cannot discriminate against hiring a disabled worker.

 

When Is a Fit for Duty Exam Conducted?

By EEOC regulation, the employer can ask the employee to take a fit for duty exam if one of the below items is true:

  • The employee has a medical problem that prevents from performing the job safely.
  • After a leave of absence, the employee is returning to work.
  • Increasing carelessness.
  • Increased mistakes.

 

 

How is the fit for duty testing done?

Usually, the employee will visit a medical professional who will determine if the selected employee is fit to do the tasks. The medical professional may examine:

  • Mental or physical abilities
  • Sensory acuity
  • Level of skill
  • Functional limitations

 

Signs showing an employee is not Fit for Duty.

Various reasons make an employee impaired and unable to work safely, depending on employees’ job duties.

The following may be signs that an employee is not fit for duty:

  • Uncontrollable crying
  • Severe trembling
  • Notable problems with coordination
  • Markedly diminished memory or concentration.
  • Suicidal or threatening statements

 

How to have a successful Fitness for Duty Exam?

The final goal of fitness for duty exams is to determine whether a worker is up to the physical demands of a position. You need to know each case is a separate individual. Just because a person has a particular medical record (like an organ transplant) doesn’t necessarily mean the worker can’t perform the job.

 

Who pays for the fitness for duty exams?

The employer must pay the cost of the fit for duty screening. When you go to perform the exam, having a job description with essential job functions is necessary. The information you provide in the test should be limited to the medical conditions associated with your job.

 

How “Fit For Duty exam” is performed at SNOHC?

As explained, OSHA defines a Fit for Duty as an individual that is fit mentally, physically, and emotionally to do the jobs. The employee can complete the assigned job in a way that does not endanger the safety of herself/himself, the public, or other colleagues.

OSHA orders this examination if there is a situation where evaluation of the employee seems necessary. Fit for duty tests are not to determine a person’s disability. There is a wide range of fit for duty physical exams performed at Southern Nevada Occupational Health Center (SNOHC), such as:

 

Return to work physical exam

This exam is usually performed by the employee who was on leave. This test can be conducted to see if the employee is qualified to continue after the absence.

 

Job performance physical exam

This test is conducted to evaluate the physical and mental performance of an employee on a job. It ensures if the employee has the intellectual and physical capabilities to handle the physical and psychological work pressure. It also evaluates the job performance of an employee in comparison with other employees.

 

Post-offer physical exam

They are also known as pre-placement assessments. Candidates who have been selected for a job position must take this exam. This exam determines if the candidate can handle the physical demands of the job.

 

SNOHC  has performed occupational health services for more than ten years in Las Vegas. With a comprehensive understating of DOT, CDC, OSHA, and MSHA regulatory mandates, our philosophy is to prevent injury and provide cost-effective services along with raising awareness on workplace safety measures.

Frequently Asked Questions about Fit for Duty Exam

What does it mean to be fit for work?
Fit Four Duty is a set of tests that show whether a worker can perform the assigned tasks safely.
What does a fit for work medical involve?
Different types of Fitness for Duty Exam includes: 1. Going back to work 2. Job performance 3. Post-offer physical examinations
Who pays for the fitness for duty exams?
The employer must pay the cost of the fit for duty screening.

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