The ultimate aim of a well-planned occupational health initiative is two-fold: 1) to reduce health and safety costs through pre-screening and, 2) to improve the prevention and management of work-related injuries and illness. Both can be obtained by ensuring the following components are in place:
1. Job Description Development
Job descriptions are an invaluable part of human resource management, especially in the areas of worker placement and workers’ compensation management. Functional job descriptions which outline physicaldemands for specific positions offer employers a tool to use both in the hiring process and in modified duty placement due to injury. In addition, physicians use the job description in a fitness-for-duty examination to determine whether a worker is capable of returning to work with no restrictions.
2. Pre-Employment Screening
IWIRC designs pre-placement tests using ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) guidelines to effectively screen out candidates who may not be physically capable of doing the job they have been offered. Components of pre-placement screens can include drug testing, fingerprint-background checks, physicals and functional tests. The ultimate cost of a single surgical back injury can equal the cost of pre-testing 400 new employees; in practical terms, only one candidate with a bad back would need to be screened out per year for this plan to break even. Candidates themselves benefit by discovering which positions are the best match to their physical capabilities. IWIRC not only helps employers determine which job categories (descriptions) would most benefit from pre-placement screenings, we can provide all services during a single patient visit with immediate results.
a. Drug Screening
IWIRC performs rapid (instant) drug screening along with collection-only screens and send-out screens using our MRO service. We only deal with SAMHSA-certified labs including Labcorp, Medtox, Quest and CRL among others. All three clinics are eScreen collection sites.
b. Physical Examinations
The Basic Physical exam includes: a medical and occupational history, vital signs, height, weight, visual acuity and a hands-on physical. Our Medical Providers perform the physical exams and Clinical Technicians provide much of the screening and testing.
c. Functional Exams (Lift Test)
Functional exams / lift tests are performed by IWIRC’s rehabilitation staff. These exams are based on the job description an employer provides and are used to determine an individual’s physical abilities, limitations, and readiness for a specific job or readiness to return to work. In order to thoroughly assess an individual’s true work capacity, it is important to correlate the objective findings gathered during physical testing with more subjective reports and behaviors.
3. DOT Exams and DOT Recertification Exams
IWIRC provides DOT physical exams and recertification exams, NIDA urine drug testing and Breath Alcohol testing. Medical Review Officer services are provided in-house by our certified Medical director. IWIRC providers are registered on the Department of Transportation website as having gone through the requisite training to become qualified to perform DOT Physical Exams.
4. Respiratory Surveillance and Respiratory Physicals
Respiratory Surveillance programs provide pulmonary function screening and respirator monitoring using an OSHA-approved questionnaire. Respiratory Physicals include a review of the questionnaire, a complete physical exam which includes Pulmonary Function Testing, and the availability of x-ray services as needed.
5. Audiometric Surveillance
The Hearing Conservation Program provides employees with certified audiology screening. Annual monitoring, employee education, and policy and procedures for protective hearing devices are included in the program.
6. OSHA-Mandated Screenings
Many work environments have identified hazards that are monitored under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). IWIRC physicians have been specially trained to review the worksite hazards and to develop appropriate health exams and screenings to provide employers with baseline data in accordance with OSHA regulations. This resource is crucial for employers to remain in good standing with OSHA.
Most work-related injuries are preventable. Understanding the demands of work activities and providing education in reducing work-injury exposure is a specialty of IWIRC’s rehabilitation staff. The training of candidates and the re-training of existing staff in proper lifting techniques, applicable stretching exercises, and correct posture is a proven method of injury prevention. Training services are available on-site for company-wide instruction and in IWIRC’s clinics for individual education.
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