Returning to Work After an Injury

Fit-For-Duty, Return to Work

No one hires a new person for a job expecting them to be injured. You choose your new hire carefully, through a combination of interviewing and post-offer testing, knowing that they are able to perform the essential duties of the position without risking themselves or others. So when the unthinkable happens, and one of your employees is injured, it can be incredibly stressful for both you and the injured worker.

Among the many questions you’re faced with upon having an employee go out with an injury, one of the most pressing is simply, when will they be able to safely come back to work? Many employers trust the doctor’s evaluation, but your injured worker’s doctor may not be fully aware of the physical demands of the job, and may inadvertently put your employee at risk of re-injury because of it.

That’s where Physical Abilities Testing (PAT) and Fit For Duty assessments (FFD) from Job Ready Services come into play.

Fit For Duty Assessments

Much like the post-offer testing employers utilize to determine a new hire’s ability to perform the essential functions of their job, FFD assessments are designed to identify the injured worker’s current physical abilities, help determine when it’s safe to come back to work, and at what level of duty (full, transitional, or modified).

Fit For Duty assessments can be administered at any time after injury, and it’s recommended that the injured worker participate in FFD assessments at regular intervals during their recovery. Not only does routine FFD testing help you determine the success of your employee’s recovery plan, but they’re also useful in shaping the recovery process.

The information learned from Fit For Duty assessments, when shared with your injured worker’s doctor and physical therapist, may help determine which aspects of recovery are progressing well and which aspects need more time and attention. Having this information available helps to focus the recovery process, which will save your employee time and frustration during recovery and save your company money on workers’ compensation expenses.

(Your injured employee’s recovery time can be expedited even further when FFD evaluations are combined with the information from their post-offer testing!)

Physical Abilities Testing

If a worker comes in limping on Monday morning and asks to take it easy on the job today, the employer may feel very uncomfortable allowing them to work in the field at all. The Physical Abilities Test (PAT) is designed for this very scenario. The PAT allows the employee to show what they can do of the job’s essential functions and helps the therapist discover any potential discrepancies. This allows the therapist to measure the deficits and, if needed, require the employee to visit their physician for further clearance. This may feel like an imposition on the employee, but it keeps the employer from incurring a potential workers’ compensation claim and protects the employee from further injury.

Contact Us to Get Started

Fit For Duty assessments are a great tool for helping employers bring their injured workers back to work quickly, safely, and without risk for re-injury. If one of your employees has experienced an injury or is demonstrating difficulty performing the essential functions of the job, call Job Ready Services at 919-256-1400 or email us at to arrange a PAT or FFD assessment to help your employee recover and return to work quickly!