Pass This Test Before Your First Day Of Work

Getting a new job offer is exciting, especially for those searching for months. While new employees are eager to get started, there are some simple tasks to complete first. For some, this involves a work physical exam. Unlike an annual physical exam, this is a medical assessment to ensure that an incoming employee is physically fit for work. Passing this test ensures that the employee can safely and efficiently work. Most employees pass this simple review, but there are cases when the employee fails. Employees and employers must then discuss the next steps for the best possible outcome.


Types of work physical exams

Almost all major organizations conduct a physical exam on new employees, even those doing desk work. These checks also double as a way for the business to confirm the employee is a viable, long-term investment. Pre-employment physicals are the most common form of these tests. The check confirms if the potential employee can handle the work demands safely. Some may need a fit-for-duty exam, especially after a long illness or recovery from injury. These are crucial tests that support the long-term health of the employee. Some businesses may require specific examinations due to the nature of the job, for instance, when operating heavy machinery.

What should you expect during your physical?

A doctor hired by the company typically performs a work physical exam. The doctor aims to ensure the employee is healthy to deal with the job demands. The exam is performed in the doctor’s office, and the general details are passed on to the employee and human resources (HR) personnel. The doctor will first collect and review the patient’s medical history. If the patient has a pre-existing condition, the doctor may discuss the employee’s management process. In most cases, this review is in the form of a questionnaire. Next, the employee undergoes a physical examination. The doctor reviews the patient’s vision, hearing, balance, and vital signs. While rare, some medicals may require a blood test. In the case of specialized training, an expert may be called in to test the employee later.

Can you fail your work physical exam?

The goal is to get a general sense of the patient’s health in relation to the demands of the job. If all goes well, the doctor will clear the employee for work with no restrictions. However, there are cases where the doctor will raise concerns that may impact work quality. Either the employee is cleared with some restrictions, such as avoiding lifting heavy objects, or a recommendation for additional tests. Sometimes, the employee has a medical issue that will impact work at the risk of health. The doctor may declare this employee as unfit for work, referred to as a failed medical. The employee's results, regardless of the outcome, are passed on to the employer to make a final decision.

Next steps after failing your physical

With an unsuccessful medical, the employer will make an informed decision. Some employees can still perform the core functions of the job but with restrictions. The value the employee brings to the team may be enough to provide reasonable accommodation or recommend a new role. These provisions must not be to the detriment of the team or organization. The employer may proceed with additional tests as advised by the doctor. These tests may be enough to pass the work physical exam. In the case of a new hire, the conditional offer may be withdrawn. There must be a clear potential risk to the individual that’s not discriminatory to a known disability.

Don’t be deterred by a negative result

The results can be disheartening, but there are avenues available for recourse. The next step is to review the results in comparison to the job’s requirements. Discuss the reasons for failing the medical and come to an agreement. In many cases, the employer can proceed with the right contingencies. The accommodations may be in line with provisions like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or other rules. If necessary, seek additional medical advice from another doctor to reassure the employer. If there are still concerns, consider alternative positions or employment. A work physical exam is not always set in stone. Work together with the employer and doctor to find a middle ground.