Hiring the wrong person can lead to workers’ compensation claims

October 4, 2018 By    

Hiring the right candidates and retaining employees is something on the mind of many propane retailers, especially when it comes to bobtail drivers. No matter how impressive a potential hire may seem on paper, it is important to make sure they are physically able to perform the job. Otherwise your company could find itself paying substantially for workers’ compensation. Kate Mitchell, risk management team leader at National Interstate Insurance, explains how to avoid hiring your next workers’ compensation claim.

Photo: iStock.com/Hailshadow

Photo: iStock.com/Hailshadow

Avoiding the expense

In a constantly changing industry, finding and retaining employees can be a challenge. Adding to that, the driver shortage is estimated to balloon to 175,000 by 2024. No doubt, it will be a challenge to recruit and retain drivers, but you do not want to resort to putting just anyone behind the wheel.

A driver who is unable to physically perform the duties of the job will likely end up costing your operation hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential workers’ compensation claims. It will be the companies that hire the right employees and drivers – along with the right safety records – that positively move into the future. In addition, these actions will affect frequency and severity of claims, and set companies and individuals up for future business success.

Conducting physical abilities testing (PATs), or a functional capacity exam, allows an operator to physically qualify candidates to ensure they can meet the physical demands of the job they may be hired to perform. It is incredibly important to your employee-retention strategy to know that the person you may be hiring can perform these tasks, and to keep him or her healthy and uninjured as a long-term employee.

Most likely there are a number of occupational therapist facilities in your area that are qualified to conduct PATs, as well as some larger nationwide companies. Keep the following in mind when vetting your PAT provider to determine if it can provide an effective PAT:

  • PATs and Department of Transportation physicals should not be performed by the same facility. They are two different types of tests that should be conducted by different types of medical professionals.
  • Ensure someone will come on-site to evaluate employees in the positions before creating the testing criteria.
  • Determine if they are a family care physician or a qualified occupational therapist. Using the right type of physician who understands physical capabilities in your industry versus an alternate can have a significant impact.
  • Make sure the vendor is Equal Employment Opportunity Commission compliant.

Making the upfront investment in PAT is a wise move. Hiring the right employee for the right job the first time could save your company from potential future workers’ compensation claims caused by an inept candidate hired to perform a job he or she physically cannot do.

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