No FCE can be much use in assisting with return to work, no matter how accurate in describing a claimant’s functional status, unless a job description with specific data regarding the most physically demanding essential functions of the claimant’s usual and customary job.
One the most widely used return to work companies states on their website, “job descriptions MAY (emphasis supplied) include onsite review of the tasks.” One of our clients implemented a job analysis program provided by their insurer. They stated later in a phone call, “We knew we were in trouble when two ladies showed up to do job analysis, both in high-heels!”
With our unique perspective as physical therapists, treaters of work-related injuries, functional testing specialists and ergonomists, we provide highly accurate descriptions of the most difficult work tasks. Based on onsite job analysis using scales, force gauges and other instruments the most difficult tasks are analyzed carefully including measuring the size, weight, or required forces necessary for objects handled, from where to where they are handled, using what equipment, and how often during the work day. When necessary, ergonomic recommendations are made to mitigate unsafe material handling or work-station practices. We’re not afraid to get down and dirty, we enjoy it actually, getting to know what it’s really like to work in that job, whether it’s in a “clean” assembly line in San Diego, a petroleum refinery in Bakersfield, a natural gas platform in the Santa Barbara channel, a railroad yard in Portland, Oregon, or on a tour bus in Hawaii.
This data is then used to create JOB TASK DUPLICATING functional tests to be performed by the functional testers to make sure that any testing results are ADA-compliant, totally reliant on actual business-required essential functions and not “guessedimates” of requirements gathered during an interview in an air-conditioned office.