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How Can Functional Employment Tests Lower Work Injuries?

WorkSTEPS was established in 1986 to help industry employers reduce workplace injuries that lead to crippling workers compensation claims. Today, it is the leading functional employment testing company, providing an array of occupational health and employment services.

What Are Functional Employment Tests?

Functional employment tests are a medically-safe, legally-compliant, scientific and objective way of matching a prospective employee’s physical abilities to the physical demands of the job they are applying for.

Functional employment tests have become popular tools that employers use to reduce harmful situations in the workplace that can lead injuries and workers compensation claims. These tests can range from short “lift” tests to longer tests that check cardiovascular fitness, strength, and position tolerance.

WorkSTEPS knows that people are the greatest asset of a company. If an injury can be prevented through any method of safety training and testing, it is ideal that employers consider it for the well-being of their employees and company.

How Functional Employment Tests Can Benefit Companies

Several studies have shown the benefits of pre-employment testing. By better understanding a prospective employees ability to handle demanding job responsibilities, a company can make better hiring decisions, as well as avoid – to a certain degree – expensive workers compensation costs.

Benefits of functional employment tests include:

  • Lowered risk of workplace injury
  • Injury-related costs go down
  • Improvement in employee retention
  • Reduction in lost time at work
  • Can lower workers compensation costs substantially

These tests are valuable in predicting or preventing on-the-job injuries. Additionally, cost reductions in workers’ comp are related to a reduction in the severity of injuries. 

How Does Pre-Employment/Post-Offer Testing Work & Help to Decrease Injuries?

Each job has its special functions and physical demands that are essential to completing the tasks required. Now you can determine if a prospective hiree can meet these duties beforehand with WorkSTEPS post-offer, pre-employment testing. 

We have a highly trained and certified network of over 1,400 healthcare professionals nationwide that administer quality and consistent functional employment tests.

WorkSTEPS helps to create assessment protocols based on the job descriptions provided to us by a given client. Employers may utilize our Job Task Analysis for a curated assessment that meets the unique demands of the position they are hiring for.

While you know the physical demands of the job and make them clear, it is just as important to know that your new hire can perform said tasks with ease while avoiding injuries that lead to workers compensation claims and other issues. Through functional employment tests, companies can feel much more confident in making an informed hiring decision.

What Are Return To Work Fit For Duty Exams?

Aside from WorkSTEPS functional employment assessments, our organization also offers other occupational health services. If an employee is dealing with an injury, illness, surgery, or other health issues that may or may not be related to a workplace injury, you will want to make sure they have fully recovered before they are allowed to resume their work duties.

A WorkSTEPS “Return to Work Fit for Duty” assessment will test your employee’s physical capacity to perform work tasks efficiently without the risk of further injury. This test can also determine whether rehabilitation is necessary before the employee can safely return to work.

Employers that use this assessment for returning workers will experience a decrease in workers accident rates and workers compensation claims. There is also a reduced risk of disrupting production that can occur when a skilled worker is unable to perform at their previous level as healing is still necessary.

Workplace Injury Statistics and Costs You Should Know

The latest data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the National Academy of Social Insurance reveals that workplace injuries and accidents generally cause an employee to miss six or more days at work, ultimately costing employers about $62 billion each year.

That means each week, employers are losing an estimated $1.19 billion because of lost work time. The top 10 leading causes of the most harm-inducing workplace injuries account for 82.5 percent of that total, or $51 billion of the $62 billion.

The following are the 10 most common causes of injuries leading to workers compensation claims, the total percentage of claims, and the total annual cost in compensation they account for:

  1. Overexertion involving an outside source: 24.4%, $15.08 billion.
  2. Same-level falls: 16.4%, $10.17 billion.
  3. Lower-level falls: 8.7%, $5.40 billion.
  4. Struck by an object (including equipment): 8.6%, $5.31 billion.
  5. Other exertions or bodily reactions: 6.7%, $4.15 billion.
  6. Roadway accidents with a land vehicle: 4.8%, $2.96 billion.
  7. Slip and trip: 3.8%, $2.35 billion.
  8. Compressed by objects/ equipment: 3.2%, $1.97 billion.
  9. Struck by object/equipment: 3.0%, $1.85 billion.
  10. Repetitive motions with micro-tasks: 2.9%, $1.82 billion.

These costs vary depending on how long the employee actually takes to file their injury. Sometimes a worker will not initially file, but as pain progresses, they may decide to make a claim. A claim can rise by 51 percent if filed after the first two weeks.

Ultimately, what these statistics highlight is the importance of not only workplace safety but the value of functional employment testing. How many of these incidents could have been avoided had quality employment testing been conducted early on to ensure that the employee was more than capable of physically handling their responsibilities?

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