Employers with positions that require specific physical abilities will often create a functional job description in addition to required duties, responsibilities, and the education, skill level, and experience that would enable a person to perform the job successfully. A person offered a job contingent upon things like passing a drug test or a physical exam may also be required to demonstrate an ability to execute the essential physical demands of the position. Pre-hire HPE’s/POET’s/Work Simulations can help identify pre-existing conditions that would prevent a candidate from performing the job without accommodation.
How Does a HPE/POET/Work Simulation Work?
Job Task Analysis
In order to accurately assess the essential functional demands required of a job, an employer along with MOH will observe, measure and document the required tasks, equipment and environment the worker functions within. In determining the physical requirements for the job, detailed weights, distances, static postures and awkward positions, tools, etc., will be assessed and later incorporated into the Job Task Analysis and the HPE/POET/Work Sim.
Determining the Exact Requirements
If the job requires lifting material in a warehouse, it is important to find out exactly how much weight one would be expected to move and both the starting and ending heights and distances. This can be done with scales or other measuring devices. Understanding a suitable weight limit will ensure you do not exclude any qualified applicants. By setting an arbitrary weight limit that is much higher than generally required, you may lose potential workers who are perfectly capable of performing the job. Try to estimate the amount of time an employee will be performing physical activities like bending, standing, sitting, and lifting; and whether they will need stamina and balance for tasks like climbing ladders, working in a confined space, or being exposed to extreme weather.
Employers have a right but not a requirement to accommodate a candidate who has some limitations. For example, to find an experienced construction worker who does not have certain limitations can be difficult in certain specialties, but if a candidate’s skill-sets offset their ability to lift x pounds to shoulder level, the employer can still choose to hire the individual.
Before conducting a HPE/POET/Work Simulation, make sure the potential employee has been offered the job contingent upon medical evaluation, drug testing, etc. Administering a human performance evaluation prior to offering employment or only to some people applying for the same job will likely be seen as discriminatory.