Physical exams in the workplace are not something folks reminisce about at their retirement parties. “Boy, I remember that exam in 2007, what a treat!”
Medical exams are not memory lane material; however, they are critical to the well-being of the employee and the company. An employee’s fitness level and overall health impact his/her ability to perform job duties on a daily basis. And these duties do not happen in a vacuum. They affect fellow employees and members of the public with whom the employee comes into contact.
So let’s take a look at a few different types of physicals that may be required by your company. These examples include exams mandated by the Department of Transportation (DOT), county/state/federal law enforcement, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).
People who drive commercial vehicles are subject to much stricter guidelines than those for everyday driving of personal automobiles. Giant trucks hauling big payloads can weigh 30 times as much as a passenger car. So, in accidents involving large trucks, it is most likely people in passenger vehicles who are killed.
A total of 4,136 people died in large truck crashes in 2018. Sixteen percent of these deaths were truck occupants, Sixty-seven percent were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, and fifteen percent were pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.
It’s obvious that trucking companies from Nevada to Maine want to make sure their drivers are being as safe as possible. And the health of the drivers is a key part of that effort.
Companies are tasked with ensuring drivers are fit for duty. There’s too much at stake, mainly human life. This is a stark reminder of its importance when reviewing the list of items on a DOT physical form. Such items include:
The level of thoroughness for each exam is designed to reduce the possibility of an unforeseen health issue contributing to an accident. Companies do not want to place an employee in a position they are not physically capable of performing.
OSHA physical requirements can be extremely detailed depending on the industry. Many companies use these standards because OSHA regulates or influences other areas of their daily business practices.
Worker deaths in America are down-on average, from approximately 38 deaths a day in 1970 to 14 a day in 2017. This trend demonstrates the effectiveness of increased oversight and the implementation of best practices.
These types of physicals can vary depending on the industry and the work environment.
OSHA is a large organization which can lead to a lot of confusion when implementing physical exam requirements. For employers, it’s a good plan to have a knowledgeable compliance manager and/or outside company handle the process and the paperwork involved.
If you can imagine a more dangerous job than mining, you’re probably thinking of shark-related careers. Heavy equipment, dangerous gases, and working deep within the Earth can inspire panic.
MSHA data reflects that in 2018, the industry experienced 5,795 injuries and 28 deaths.
Physical exams for miners can include the following:
A proper MSHA physical can save the life of a worker along with his/her team by spotting health problems before they pop-up deep within a dark mine, or while handling blasting materials in an open pit.
The stress of being a police officer has reached an all time high. It’s a tough job mentally and often thankless. The inherent danger law enforcement faces daily is staggering. From domestic violence calls to home invasions, lives can very well hang in the balance.
Needless to say, being fit for duty is a must for those in law enforcement. This requirement is for their own safety and that of the community they serve. An officer who is physically unable to pursue a suspect on foot is not very useful. Similarly, an officer with the wrong mentality won’t be effective at establishing a sense of calm in tense situations.
Regular physical exams in this type of job can keep the officer safe as well as the citizens he/she is sworn to protect. Physical elements that may be included during LEO physicals are:
That being the case, having an experienced company to handle physicals based on specific and varied requirements is a must.
At this point, you should have a good idea why physical exams are so important for new hires to your company. Of course, exams are needed and often required on an ongoing basis. So while physicals are not something we highlight in our scrapbooks, they do make for healthier companies. This process leads to workers being able to perform their work tasks and make it to their retirement party in good health.