The Functional Fitness Evaluation (FFE) evaluates whether an individual is able to meet the physical demands of a specific job. It can be a valuable add-on to a medical evaluation or done as part of a site requirement.
This type of testing evaluates an individual’s functional ability to perform specific work tasks, to avoid putting that person at a higher risk if he or she is unable to physically perform a job. This type of testing can be especially helpful when testing older adults that are over 60 years of age.
When we do a Functional Fitness Evaluation, we spend approximately one day assessing and documenting the physical requirements of the specific job. All of these test queries are completed by a certified and experienced physiotherapist, kinesiologist, or occupational therapist.
What is a Functional Fitness Evaluation?
A functional fitness evaluation (FFE) is a series of tests, conducted in a clinical setting, that mirror the physical demands of the specific position a candidate will be employed in. These tests are developed based on a customized analysis that documents all the physical requirements of the position.
The FFE is a risk mitigation tool designed to ensure that the employee is physically able to perform the required duties of the position without undue risk of being injured at the workplace.
When to Use a Functional Fitness Evaluation (FFE)
- Pre-access: Reduce the chance of injury by ensuring the right person is able to perform all essential tasks of a job.
- Pre-transfer: Make sure employees can handle the different functional fitness demands of a new role before injuries happen.
How to Use Functional Fitness Evaluation (FFE) Results
- Assess whether potential employees can meet the essential physical demands of a specific job.
- Mitigate risk by assigning new employees to job classifications that match their current physical abilities.
- Establish a baseline or benchmark for the physical abilities and functions required for a job, and provide appropriate accommodation where necessary.
Benefits of an FFE Program
An FFE program is a strategy for avoiding the risks associated with workplace injuries. These injuries can have both obvious and subtle impacts on productivity. There are three primary reasons to set up a functional fitness evaluation program:
Research shows that FFEs can reduce employee injuries. In recent studies(1) of newly implemented functional fitness screenings programs:
- Injuries were half as likely.
- Musculoskeletal injuries were reduced by 42%.
- Days lost due to injury decreased by 90%.
- Worker retention increased by 21%.
- Financial Return
Research shows that FFEs can lead to outcomes that are both positive and valuable. In a recent study of newly implemented FFEs:
- The cost per claim was four to seven times lower.
- Employers received an estimated indirect return of $6 for every $1 spent.
- Employers received a direct cost benefit ranging from $3 to $18 for every $1 spent.
Functional fitness is fast becoming standard for site access in some industries. Beyond having safety and financial benefits, a functional fitness screening program may soon be necessary to achieve compliance with requirements in some circumstances.
Accuracy and Defensibility of FFES
The decisions made as a result of a functional fitness evaluation program can have significant impacts on your employees and organization. That’s why it is important that your program be accurate and defensible. An accurate and defensible program not only ensures fairness to employees but also helps to ensure productivity improvements are realized.
Key points to consider:
- The functional fitness evaluation must be designed to meet the job’s minimum bona fide occupational requirements (BFORs). Testing to a standard beyond or below these requirements will undermine the program and reduce its effectiveness.
- The key to designing to BFORs is the physical demands analysis (PDA). A PDA is a professional assessment of the essential physical requirements or demands of a job or position. Depending upon the complexity of the job, a PDA typically requires one to three days to complete.
- The evaluation itself must be performed reliably and consistently by a certified professional.
- Conclusions of the functional fitness evaluation testing must be concise, clear, and actionable. Process and policy should be built to return workers to work safely.
- Testing and physical assessment results need to be managed to ensure employee confidentiality is maintained.
Ensuring your FFE program meets these criteria can be daunting. CannAmm can help. We have the expertise and experience to assist you in creating an accurate and defensible FFE program.
Setting Up Your FFE Program
Setting up an FFE program for the first time may seem like a daunting task. CannAmm can provide expert guidance through the many steps of implementing a program. We’ll help you:
- Determine whether an FFE program is right for you and set out key performance indicators such as:
- Estimated cost savings
- Reduced long-term injuries (measured in days or years)
- Employee retention
- Aggravated injuries
- Understand the potential impacts of your functional fitness abilities program on your current operations
- Determine what positions in your organization will be affected
- Develop and deploy policies that clearly outline protocols
- Communicate the program internally to your associates
- Develop a physical demands analysis for each position
- Set up an account
- Implement the program
Monitoring Your Functional Fitness Testing Program
Once your functional fitness testing program is implemented and running, you need to ensure it’s meeting your goals. Are the intended outcomes being realized? CannAmm has the tools to help you assess your success. We can help you measure the results of your functional fitness testing program against benchmarks specific to your industry.
Ongoing monitoring is important to ensure your plan is sustainable and is adding value to your organization.
Physical Demands Analysis (PDA)
A Physical Demands Analysis (PDA) is a document that outlines all the essential job tasks, and the physical demand requirements, to perform a specific job position. All PDAs and evaluation protocols are completed by a professionally regulated clinician (physiotherapist, occupational therapist or kinesiologist) skilled in injury prevention, job analysis, and return to work planning. Learn more about this service.
Why choose CannAmm Functional Fitness Evaluations?
- Our evaluations are developed and tested using the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) to protect employee and employer rights
- CannAmm makes it easy to combine drug and alcohol testing with evaluations
- We offer easy-to-manage bookings – book multiple tests with one request
- Confidential and defensible test result sets
- Expect the results of your test data back promptly
Contact us today to find out how we can help you, or to arrange for fitness testing.