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What Is a Fit for Duty Exam and Why Is It Important?

December 5, 2022
June 21, 2023
Fit for Duty Exam

Some jobs are physically demanding. Whether it’s construction, yardwork, food production,  railroad work or other, you need to know if your employees are ready to work safely in a high-intensity environment. A fit for duty exam is a great way to find out if a recent hire is physically able to perform their job with a low risk of injury. 

What is a fit for duty exam? 

A fit for duty exam is often given to new hires or recently injured employees. It can also be given to workers as a periodic test. In all cases, fit for duty exams give employers a better idea as to the physical status of their employees. 

A fit for duty exam can be requested by an employer and performed by a health care professional. The following are ways that fit for duty exams can be useful to employers: 

  • New hires — A fit for duty exam can be administered to new hires so that employers can determine their capabilities before they officially start the job. According to OSHA, an employer cannot test a potential employee before hiring them. As a result, a fit for duty test can be a type of Post-Offer Employment Testing, or POET, that can help employers better understand their new hire’s limitations.
  • Routine checks — Some employees, like firefighters and police officers, have to take fit for duty exams regularly. Additionally, OSHA requires certain workers, like truck drivers and pilots, to undergo medical exams on a periodic basis. These routine fit for duty exams can help make sure that employees can physically perform their physically demanding responsibilities. 
  • Injured employees — A fit for duty test can also help determine whether an injured worker is fit to return to work safely. They may have been absent from work due to an on-site injury or illness and need to be reevaluated before returning. Administering a fit for duty exam can help protect employees from reinjury and protect employers from liability. 

Why is a fit for duty exam important? 

There are many reasons why employers should consider administering fit for duty tests, including the following: 

  • They can prevent reinjuries.

The healing process can be complicated. After an employee is injured, they may go through many rounds of physical therapy in order to regain mobility. It is important for both the employee and employer to know a worker’s risks of reinjury before they return to work. A fit for duty exam can assess their mobility and strength and determine whether their recovery process is complete enough to work again. 

  • They can save you money on workers’ compensation.

    A fit for duty exam can help you know whether someone is physically capable of safely performing a job ahead of time. You can therefore be aware of that employee’s strengths and weaknesses before assigning them high-risk jobs like heavy lifting. As your first line of injury prevention, fit for duty exams can lower the risk of on-site injuries and save you the thousands of dollars associated with them. 

Work-Fit can help you prevent injuries beyond the fit for duty exam

Need help administering a fit for duty test or simply need on-site injury prevention? Work-Fit offers personalized injury prevention and wellness programs that can help you avoid workplace injuries in the first place. Contact our team today for more information about our services or to learn how we can help keep your employees fit for duty.


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