With an aging workforce, many with limited retirement options, it is natural to see an increase in chronic, age-related, and non-occupational illnesses and injuries. This is turn has the potential of employers taking responsibility for non-work related issues that could have been detected and avoided if the proper gate checks were in place.

It is therefore important to recognize the available options for pre-placement/post-offer health screenings that include functional capacity testing. Identifying pre-existing disease and injury is key to avoiding potential on-the-job injuries, chronic injuries that present themselves on the job, and undiagnosed chronic medical diseases. How many times have we witnessed an employee routinely walking at work, says he/she has knee pain with no specific injury, but now has a meniscal tear? Or the employee that has a rotator cuff tear but wasn't doing anything at work that could have caused this?

In essence, a basic drug test and heart/lung may not, and is often not an accurate way to determine an employee's complete fitness for duty. A thorough examination utilizing the best methods available to reproduce the job demands required is needed to fully determine fitness-for duty.

In this discussion, we will examine the most recent statistics in occupational fatality, injury and illness. We will also look into the current standards in post-offer examinations and illustrate options that are available to reduce the injury and fatality statistics.

How Are Workers Getting Injured?
Fatality Statistics

The most recent labor statistics give us a clear understanding of the mechanisms, and frequency of work-related injuries and fatalities. Overall, the numbers did not change much from the 2012. The list below shows the individual causes

  • 4405 total work related fatalities

  • 1740 of the total fatalities related to transportation mechanisms

  • 753 violence related

  • 717 blunt force trauma

  • 699 falls

  • 330 exposure to harmful substances or environment

  • 148 fires and explosions

  • Demographics show the majority of fatalities are among white, middle to late aged men

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