Health screenings are a regular part of an organization’s employment process. These tests help determine whether a job candidate or employee is fit and qualified to perform the tasks expected of them. An employee’s health affects the company in many significant ways. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, productivity losses from missed work cost employers $225 billion every year. Furthermore, an underperforming and unreliable workforce can ruin a company’s reputation, putting off customers, stakeholders, and investors. Health tests help prevent unnecessary losses caused by employee absenteeism, and they also make organizations more proactive in the way they treat employee health and wellness.
Whether you are an employee or a manager, it helps to know what types of health screenings are available. As a manager, this will help you evaluate which health screenings match the nature of your business operations. Likewise, as an employee or job candidate, this awareness will help you become better prepared for the job ahead of you. Here are some of the most common health screenings.
Physical Aptitude Exam
Some jobs require workers to do intensive labor, so it is important to screen job candidates and workers to evaluate whether they are physically capable of performing these tasks. For instance, companies hiring lifeguards must implement a swimming test and other examinations that assess the job applicant’s physical capabilities, including cardiovascular health, mobility, and observation skills.
Physical aptitude exams are common in industries that have physically intensive activities such as emergency response, firefighting, construction, and sports. These evaluations are meant not only to ensure that candidates are competent but also to protect them and fellow workers from potential dangers. Physical tests may be conducted prior to employment or implemented as a response to a work-related incident. For example, if workers suffer an injury while on the job, they might be required to undergo a physical exam to determine if they are fit to work or if they need additional medical care.
Drug screenings have been a standard part of employee evaluation since the 1980s, when then-president Ronald Reagan made it mandatory for federal employees to pass a drug test. Since then, many private businesses have followed suit. Today it is common for employers to implement drug testing, whether in the preemployment process or as a randomized procedure to check if anyone in the workforce is consuming illicit substances.
Drug tests are an important type of health screening because they ensure that employees are not engaged in reckless and harmful behavior that may endanger them and their coworkers. Downer drugs like morphine are known to interfere with a person’s focus, cognitive abilities, and memory, and it can make users drowsy. These symptoms are extremely dangerous especially in safety-sensitive industries like construction, transportation, and health care. Similarly, stimulants like cocaine and heroin are known to cause insomnia and high blood pressure, which hamper productivity and affect the employee’s overall health.
Companies that have a zero-tolerance policy for drugs usually also enforce the same strict measures against alcohol use. Alcohol affects a person’s memory, concentration, and movement, and these could have disastrous consequences, especially if workers are engaged in high-risk operations like handling heavy machinery, dealing with patient care, driving vehicles, or doing construction work. Chronic alcohol abuse may also cause significant damage to a person’s liver and kidneys. Additionally, alcohol addiction should be considered a serious mental health issue that needs to be dealt with comprehensively.
Alcohol tests can come in the form of Breathalyzers and screening of samples like urine and blood. These methods can prevent alcohol consumption while on the job. Furthermore, managers can also become more proactive in the way they handle the consumption of illicit substances and can implement rehabilitation programs for employees they have identified to be at risk for alcoholism.
Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Evaluation
Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Furthermore, a study by the WSH Institute found that cardiovascular and circulatory diseases are among the top causes of work-related deaths. Because of this looming threat, it is important that companies take a proactive stance in addressing the cardiovascular health of their workers, especially if their employees perform high-stress work or activities that can increase the risk of heart disease. After management identifies workers who are at high risk for heart disease, they should then provide critical interventions like heart medications, regular blood pressure checkups (used with a blood pressure sensor), and sponsor fitness and health programs to educate them on lifestyle and dietary changes they need to make.
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