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OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH NEWSLETTER

Gain a Competitive Advantage with the Correct Hiring Decision


Safe, healthy workplaces support strong business performance stemming from: Lower insurance premiums Reduced staff turnover Increased productivity Lower hiring costs Better employee morale Working is conclusively good for ones health, and for the health of ones family and society. In fact, it has been demonstrated that being unable to work has the equivalent health effects of smoking 10 packets of cigarettes per day (Ross 1995). The Problem Facing Employers and Workers Understanding this, regulators and many employers now emphasise Workplace Safety as a core value, yet in 2008 and 2009 over 130,000 work-related injuries and illnesses were reported to NSW Work Cover, with almost 43,000 resulting in more than 5 days off work, and around 9000 resulting in permanent disability. The cost to employers and the community of these injuries is staggering with total payments of the system increasing to over 2.5 billion in 2008 and 2009. Working Towards an Effective Solution There are many aspects to injury prevention including ergonomics, job design and safety procedures, however one often-overlooked factor is that there is a gap between the physical ability of a person to perform a job and the demands of a job. Sporting clubs at even the most basic level will fitness test players prior to returning to play; yet employers frequently employ people manifestly unstainable for the job. There is increasing evidence that properly administered pre-employment physical tests are one of the best ways to minimise the risks associated with a bad hiring decision. Effective Pre-Employment Testing 1 The testing must be objective and well documented. To ensure defensibility of the hiring decision. If tested, it is essential that hiring is objective, equitable and legally defensible. 2 Testing must be customised. It is essential that testing is relevant to the job being tested. Different jobs have different demands associated with them and if the testing is not relevant to these then it is not likely to be effective. 3 Testing should follow the guidelines derived from available scientific evidence. 4 The testing interview is as important as the test. In a study conducted on 594 security staff published in the Journal of Occupational Medicine in 2010 found that a questionaire tool used at the pre-employment stage was predictive of future absense and work restriction. 5 Testing must be conducted by suitably qualified staff. Relevant findings are often subtle. An inexperienced assessor can invalidate good testing protocols. Physical testing for example requires someone with knowledge and skills in Physical Capacity Evaluation and Orthopedic Assessment with knowledge of injury and pathology. Our mission at Advanced Physiotherapy is to be the Hunters leading provider of Occupational Health Services and our pre-employment screening service is up to date, staffed by qualified medical and allied health personnel.

To contact our Occupational Health Team, please call or email: Matt Kent: 0488 061 529 m.kent@advancedphysio.com.au