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Employment Screening Variances at Co-Located Facilities

Monday, January 21, 2013

Employers frequently have separate plants, warehouses or other business operations co-located within the same city, county and state. Even facilities that engage in very similar business activities will frequently have dissimilar employee injury experience. The reasons for their injury patterns are endless. They may result from a different mix of employee backgrounds, unique facility cultures, dissimilar safety programs, incentive programs, processes or equipment.

It is not at all uncommon for one facility toexperience a recurring pattern of strain and sprain(musculoskeletal disorders – MSDs) injuries costingtens of thousands of dollars annually and a similarfacility across town with only episodic MSD claims.

When pre-employment strength testing is considered, the typical question that arises is “Can we screen at one facility and not the other?” “Do we have to be consistent in our company’s employment screening requirements at different locations?”


Being consistent in the employee screening process is certainly critical. However, when different company operations experience different loss experience, it is not necessary that one facility’s physical capability screening requirements mirror that of another location’s. Just as not all job classifications within a facility/business operation require physically demanding work. Where job classifications are such that a physically mismatched employee would present a direct threat to the employee or others, then that classification may be subject to a valid matching protocol consistent with business necessity. 

Similarly, where one or more locations co-located within the same city, county or state, experience variedMSD loss, they may individually engage in physical capability employment screening. The location may conduct pre-employment strength testing even though the other corporation’s location is not conducting the same screening. Pre-employment strength tests, which measure an individual’s performance of physical tasks, are not considered medical examinations as long as they do not include examinations that are in fact medical (e.g., measuring heart rate or blood pressure). An employer can choose to only conduct these non-medical tests at selected facilities.


Before commencing a pre-employment physical capability employment screening program, it is first necessary to conduct an historical review of each facility’s MSD loss history. Identify those job classifications that have consistently experienced injuries. Have a professional job task analysis conducted by a Network Safety Consultant to identify the essential physical demands of the job. Then begin your screening based on each job classification’s essential physical job requirements, even if one or more similar or dissimilar, co-located facilities will not mimic the same screening requirements.

Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.

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