Statistics prove that the best way to treat any injury or illness is to prevent it from ever occurring. However, there are many debates about what interventions are the most effective and which ones achieve the highest measures of success. It has been my experience as a recognized expert in the field of occupational and industrial medicine, that the single highest degree of injury reductions is accomplished through functional testing. Functional testing is a bio-ergonomic intervention that measures human strength and performance, and appropriately matches them to the physical demands of the job. The WorkSTEPS Functional Test Model ("Model") has proven to reduce work-related MSDs by an average of 50% in its first year of implementation when used as a first line of defense in the prevention of MSDs. Functional testing combined with other injury management programming such as safety, wellness, conditioning, ergonomics, etc., can help achieve reductions which are even more significant.

This WorkSTEPS Model ("Model") was developed in a clinical setting, by occupational clinicians over 15 years ago. It was founded to meet a critical need - to create a medically safe, legally compliant, scientific and objective means of matching a worker's functional capabilities with the essential functions of the job. It was developed as a tool that employers could use to help insure that a worker was safely and appropriately matched to the physical demands of the job.

The Model establishes safety as a mission with shared responsibility between employers, employees, and the health care clinician consulting them. It also supplies a system of checks and balances that measures accountability for all parties concerning their respective roles.

The Model is being provided to employers through a national network of occupational heath care clinicians (doctors, physical therapists, and occupational therapists). These clinicians provide employers with one the most comprehensive, state-of-the-art, and legally compliant functional testing models available. Licensed clinicians perform the protocols, procedures and processes outlined in the Model in a clinical or on-site setting. These clinicians and their aides receive bi-annual annual training and refresher course work on proper protocols, and procedures as well as updates on changes in regulations and compliance factors.

The Model has gained wide acceptance in the business community due to the rising costs associated with workers' compensation and increased federal regulations being imposed on employers by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The Model helps employers stay compliant with federal hiring practices and the Americans' With Disabilities Act. The Model utilizes appropriately designed and administered tests, historical pre- and post-injury data, and evaluations relevant to physical performance to help mitigate the incidence and costs of injury and provide better data to its employers to assist in resolution of claims.

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