What in the World is a Functional Fitness Evaluation?
What in the World is a Functional Fitness Evaluation?

What in the World is a Functional Fitness Evaluation?

Blog and Opinions Red Slashes Feb 24, 2016
By: Dan Demers

Functional Fitness Evaluation (FFE) is an injury avoidance/reduction tool that evaluates whether an individual is able to meet the physical demands of a specific job. The test evaluates an individual’s functional ability to perform specific work tasks that may be physically demanding. The benefit of including this type of test in your policy is that it will mitigate the risk of an injury in a safety sensitive environment, thus saving you time and money by ensuring that the right people are employed for the right jobs.

How Does An FFE Start?

It begins with a Physical Demands Analysis (PDA), of course! A PDA is a professional assessment of the essential physical requirements, or demands, of each job/position. Basically, it is a set of clinical measurements determined by certified and experienced physiotherapists, kinesiologists, or occupational therapists that ensure the bona fide occupational requirements of the position are clearly established.

How Often Is A PDA Done?

PDA’s are created for each unique job or position as determined by you. A PDA is considered valid until your tools, activities, duties, or work environment undergoes a material change that affects the essential demands of the job. It is recommended that the PDA be reviewed annually to ensure it is still relevant and applicable to the job.

What’s Next?

The Functional Fitness Evaluation is designed in order to meet the bona fide occupational requirements as set out by the PDA. Once it is designed, workers can be tested according to your policy. The evaluations should be performed by a third party that only uses qualified clinicians to perform them. Certified clinicians include experienced physiotherapists, kinesiologists, and occupational therapists that are skilled in identifying physical limitations that may place the worker and employer at risk. This helps you place employees in the right positions to reduce the occurrence of lost time due to injury.

Why Do A Functional Fitness Evaluation?

Research1 has shown that FFEs can lead to positive and valuable outcomes for all people in an organization. With an FFE:

  • Incidence of musculoskeletal injuries were reduced by 42%
  • Days lost due to injury was 90% less
  • Worker retention increased by 21%
  • Indirect ROI was estimated at $6 for every $1 spent
  • Direct cost-benefit estimates ranged from $3-$18 for every $1 invested.
  • Cost per injury claims were 4-7 times lower

How Can I Sign Up?!

As stated above, there are many benefits to such a test being incorporated into your organization, so you might be prompted to get this train rolling! If you have any questions about the process, or just can’t wait to sign up, please follow this link or call 1-800-440-0023 to talk to one of our expert sales associates. If you would just like to read more about the topic, please view our FFE page here or take a look at our infographic here!


1 Anderson, C., & Briggs, J. 2008. A study on the effectiveness of ergonomically-based functional screening tests and their relationship to reducing workers’ compensation injuries. Work 31(1):27-37

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