The Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) is a full body comprehensive medical test used to measure an employee’s functional capacity and assist in injury management, whether the injury was sustained while at work or existed previously. The functional test may be used alone to document existing impairments or in combination with the Post-Offer Comprehensive Test as a comparison against original baseline data.
One FCE should be given at the time of injury to determine severity and legitimacy for optimum injury management. Another FCE should be administered during rehabilitation to determine progress, and one functional capacity evaluation should be conducted post-rehabilitation to determine the employee’s ability to return to his or her job.
At the time of injury, when compared against data previously collected, the FCE may be used to prove consistency and validity of performance and create realistic, objective rehabilitation goals, return to work recommendations, or work conditioning programs to capitalize on injury management procedures. This information is invaluable to objectively move the patient through the system in a fair and timely manner.
Other Industrial Testing
The FCE is the test most people have heard of. But, it is only one of a battery of assessments that are available for employers to assure that they are hiring the best candidates for the job, providing their workers the safest possible work environment, helping injured workers get the treatment they need and bringing them back into their customary occupations safely while teaching them how to prevent injuries in the future.
The following are a few other industrial evaluations you may encounter while applying for a job once you receive an offer and while on the job.
- Work Tolerance Screening – the employee’s physical capacities are tested to determine his or her ability to return to a specific job. During this screening, the employee performs work-simulated tasks based on a job description to determine the appropriateness for returning to his/her usual and customary occupation.
- Pre-placement Screening – also known as a pre-placement exam, it is an important part of the onboarding process. This concise but comprehensive screening is designed to determine if a potential employee is able to safely perform the job for which he or she is applying. Screening may involve testing the prospective employee’s flexibility, strength, lifting and cardiovascular health.
- Job Site Analysis – assesses the employee’s workspace at their job site (workstations, equipment, tools, etc.) and specific job requirements that may contribute to injury or cumulative trauma. The clinician will then make recommendations to help prevent work-related injuries where improper ergonomics, excessive stresses, and repetitive motions may be harmful.
- Work Hardening – a program that combines simulated work activities and specific job-related tasks similar to the physical demands employees can expect in the customary occupation with physical conditioning and worker education.
- Worker Conditioning – unlike work hardening, the primary focus is to build the worker’s physical strength, flexibility, function, and cardiovascular health while working with the employee on confidence, injury prevention education, and self-discipline.