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Editor:

Sareen McLinton

Design & Production:

Jacqueline Hall

Hannah Oates

Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE)

A functional capacity evaluation or FCE is an assessment of a worker’s physical capacity, performed by a physiotherapist or occupational therapist. The purpose of a FCE is to determine whether a worker has sufficient capacity to meet the physical demands of a job role and therefore be able to perform this job role in a safe manner.

The components of a FCE assessment must be tailored to the physical demands of a particular job role so as to accurately identify injury risk factors in a worker when performing a given job role. Prior to the FCE the demands are assessed by reviewing an employer’s job dictionary, the therapist conducting a worksite visit or conversation with the employer.

A FCE can be used in the following contexts:

  • during recruitment, to determine a preferred candidate’s ability to perform a job role;
  • throughout employment, to evaluate a worker’s ongoing suitability to the physical demand of their job role;
  • post personal injury to identify whether a worker has suitable physical capacity to return to their job role;
  • post workplace injury to identify a worker’s capacity in relation to their pre-injury job role or proposed alternate job role; and
  • throughout rehabilitation, to evaluate the progress of an injured worker and inform return to work planning back to normal pre-injury duties.

A FCE may include any of the following components:

  • clinical evaluation including range of motion;
  • special tests to identify signs of previous injuries;
  • postural tolerances for repetitive or sustained postures
  • static strength of any body part;
  • dynamic lifting strength;
  • manual task safety and handling technique; and
  • aerobic fitness.

For more information about FCE’s, contact CHG.

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Men’s Health

The average life expectancy of men is 4 years shorter than that of women (ABS 2018), with males also accounting for 72% of all workplace injuries in South Australia (ReturnToWorkSA 2018). These poorer statistics for men than women are due to an over representation of males in high physical injury risk jobs, and a lack of health awareness in men.

The leading causes of death in men include (from most prevalent to least prevalent):

  • cardiovascular disease;
  • lung cancer;
  • dementia;
  • stroke;
  • prostate cancer;
  • bowel cancer;
  • diabetes; and
  • suicide.

Males are three times more likely to commit suicide than females, emphasising the importance of mental health awareness in men. For all diseases affecting men, prevention is the best form of treatment. Prevention relies on undergoing annual screening tests so that risk factors for these diseases can be identified early. The following table illustrates the annual screening tests that are recommended for males based on age.

Employers can promote men’s health awareness by engaging a health professional to implement screening tests regularly onsite in their workplace. For more information about men’s health and how you can support your workers, contact CHG.

Meet CHG’s Allied Health Manager

Martin is CHG’s Allied Health Manager. Martin is a physiotherapist by profession, skilled in the field of occupational health and injury management. Working from CHG@103, Martin is responsible for leading CHG’s team of allied health professionals in the daily operations of injury rehabilitation and injury prevention.

Over the last 20 years Martin has partnered with employers in designing customised solutions for improving occupational health in the workplace. These solutions have included:

  • implementing manual task safety training;
  • creating job dictionaries;
  • educating new Return to Work Co-ordinators;
  • facilitation early intervention programs; and
  • designing tailored pre-employment, periodic, or fitness for work FCE processes.

Being a passionate believer in occupational health Martin also holds the position of President of the South Australian Branch of the Australian Physiotherapy Association.

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A CHG Case study
Pre-employment FCE’s

CHG were commissioned by a large South Australian manufacturer to help reduce their high incidence of musculoskeletal injuries in newly employed workers. Prior to engaging CHG’s services, this employer reported an injury incidence of 28% in their new workers at 3 months after commencement of employment. Following a worksite assessment CHG were able to design a tailored FCE pre-employment process which formed part of the new recruitment process. Preferred candidates underwent a FCE to determine their functional suitability for the physical demands of the job role and to identify any injury risk factors. Only those candidates who were functionally suitable for the role were offered employment.

By screening for injury risk factors during the pre-employment process CHG
were able to reduce the musculoskeletal injury rate for new workers by 87%
through the implementation of a tailored FCE process.

For more information on pre-employment FCE’s, contact CHG.

Martin van der Linden - Allied Health Manager