Functional Capacity Examinations in the Return to Work Process

  • When a worker’s injured, it’s often difficult to know if they are able to return to work — and what they’re able to do
  • If an employee returns to work too early, you risk a further accident and a possible additional WCB claim; too late, and you’ve wasted time and money
  • Knowing how much an injured employee is physical capable of doing is key in a safe return to work process

When you’ve got an injured worker off work for a lengthy period, the business suffers. Of course, you want to know your employee has appropriate time to properly recover — but you also don’t want to risk the return to work process being dragged out indefinitely. After all, it’s up to you to cover that absence.

Your employee may be highly skilled and well-experienced in the particulars of your workplace. It’s hard to find a replacement for that: especially if it’s temporary. What you really need is a way of knowing how suited they currently are for the requirements of the job.

Why and When Employers Need Functional Capacity Examinations

If your employee was recently injured, you wouldn’t want to put them right back to work. Even if they say they’re feeling fine, do you want to run the risk of finding out they’re not yet capable of lifting heavy loads when their grip fails and they drop it somewhere sensitive causing physical damage — perhaps even more injury to themselves and others?
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Whether your employee is keen to return to work and you need to confirm they’re ready, or you’re unsure why it’s taking so long, a Functional Capacity Examination provides answers and allows you some assurance that when your employee is back, you know what you can accept they should be capable of.

A Functional Capacity Examination Evaluates the Ability to Perform Work

These evaluations with an expert are a chance to answer questions about a person’s ability to work in a controlled setting. That’s what a Functional Capacity Examination is all about. Done one-on-one with a medical expert and the patient employee, they’ll run through a series of tests designed to evaluate the patient’s physical ability to perform tasks such as:

  • Pulling and pushing
  • Lifting and carrying
  • Sitting, standing, and walking
  • Hand dexterity, coordination, and grip strength

The Functional Capacity Examination will be tailored to test on specific tasks the patient employee may be expected to do as a part of their job, accounting for the specific injury they’ve suffered. They’ll also test assess the amount of pain the patient employee claims, and can evaluate if they’re giving their maximum effort — or whether they may be exaggerating symptoms.

How Do You Get a Functional Capacity Examination for your Employee?

The best way to get your Functional Capacity Examination is to work with a company like Western Medical Assessments.

With a range of services designed to help obtain clarity in often murky return to work situations, we’ve spent decades building a powerful network of experts capable of evaluating injuries as they relate to work.

We pair connect employers and employees with medical specialists with who have particular expertise in the field of evaluating capacity to work. According to the injury suffered, we can help employers understand the opportunities and restrictions there may be around a return to work.

If you’re looking to get a Functional Capacity Examination for an injured employee, our Medical Director Dr. Roger Hodkinson is always available for a no-obligation chat at +1 780 433 1191.

Western Medical Assessments also performs Independent Medical Examinations to help employers understand the extent of injuries faced by their employees. If you’d like to know more, our Employers page is a great place to start.