Fitness-to-Work Testing

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About Fitness-to-Work Testing

The daunting possibility of hiring the wrong person for the job or the complexities of re-integrating a worker after a lengthy absence weighs on the minds of business managers, supervisors, and human resource departments. Scheduling fitness-to-work evaluations as part of your overall employee wellness program will give you an added level of confidence that both new and return-to-duty employees are ready for the work at hand.

Fitness-to-work testing is most often initiated by the employer either because of company policy or government regulations. Although some companies may make use of a healthcare professional on staff, the use of independent experts helps to establish objectivity and transparency in an organization’s hiring and return-to-work practices.

Testing ensures employees are physically capable of doing the job and minimizes the possibility of personal injury, risks to other employees, and financial loss due to damages to equipment or materials. Fit-for-work testing will help to ensure that employees can handle changes in their role, a transfer to a different position, and help manage concerns related to their ability to perform due to emerging or continuing health conditions.

SureHire’s Fitness-to-Work programs help employers understand an individual’s overall health status and provide recommendations for work accommodations and/or restrictions when necessary. Should an incident occur, employers can also use the information provided through our Fitness-to-Work testing when applying for cost-relief through their province’s worker’s compensation board.

Components of a Fitness-to-Work Test

  • Health Information Collection | Testing participants are interviewed by a trained SureHire staff member, during which the testing participant will discuss their entire health history from birth to any current conditions or injuries they are experiencing. This allows SureHire to identify if any medical conditions or injuries are present that could pose a risk to the testing participant completing the remainder of testing.
  • Pre-Medical Evaluation | A pre-medical evaluation includes collecting vitals from the testing participant including their height, weight, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation to ensure there are no immediate concerns with proceeding with further testing.
  • Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Exam | A head-to-toe musculoskeletal examination is completed to identify any musculoskeletal limitations or concerns. The assessment is based on standardized testing protocols developed by SureHire. SureHire uses licensed physiotherapists, chiropractors, and athletic therapists to perform the musculoskeletal examination; these healthcare professionals have an in-depth knowledge of the body, and experience in evaluating the integrity of the muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons.
  • Critical Strength and Mobility Testing | This is the final step in Fitness-to-Work testing. Testing participants will complete a series of stations consisting of lifting, carrying, and positional tasks which are matched to the physical demands of the job. Each testing participant is objectively evaluated by trained SureHire staff through the measurement of their heart rate and oxygen saturation levels during testing, as well as through observation of the testing participant’s lifting technique and overall ability to safely lift and carry the required weights.  The critical strength and mobility testing takes approximately 45 minutes to complete.

Understanding Fitness-to-Work Results

Fitness-to-Work testing gives employers increased confidence when making hiring decisions, by having an elevated understanding of their testing participant’s physical capabilities relative to the bona fide occupational requirements of the job they are applying for. This allows employers to reduce the risk of incidents or injuries occurring.

Results are reviewed by a team of SureHire trained healthcare professionals, including physiotherapists, chiropractors, athletic therapists, and physicians. The results of Fitness-to-Work testing are issued using a level 1-5 scale. Depending on the result issued, SureHire may recommend work accommodations and/or restrictions related to the findings noted during testing.

FTW Level 1-5 Assessment Scale
Medical Comments for FTW - Icons and Definitions


What is the purpose of a Fitness-to-Work (FTW) test?
A FTW test assesses the testing participant’s medical, musculoskeletal, and critical strength and mobility status so they can be safely placed within their workforce. SureHire provides employers with a recommendation to hire using a Level 1–5 assessment scale and is based on matching the participant’s abilities to the physical demands of the job.

What determines the level of FTW testing completed?
A Physical Demands Analysis (PDA) is completed for each individual work position before employers implement Fitness-to-Work testing. The testing protocol is based on the results of the PDA.

How do testing participants prepare for FTW testing?
FTW participants should consume a light snack 1 hour prior to FTW testing or consume a larger meal 3 hours prior to FTW testing. It is important that all Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics check blood glucose levels as prescribed by their physician and eat sufficiently prior to testing.

What are the steps in SureHire’s FTW testing?

  1. Completion of intake paperwork by the testing participant upon arrival for their appointment, 
  2. Completion of a pre-medical assessment, where vital measurements are collected (height, weight, blood pressure, etc.),
  3. Completion of a medical assessment, where the testing participant will discuss their health history with a licensed healthcare provider, and go through a comprehensive  musculoskeletal examination,
  4. Completion of critical strength and mobility testing, and
  5. Completion of an analysis of testing information with subsequent release of a test result, based on the information collected.

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