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Avera offers employers PCP testing

Avera offers area companies pre-employment and return to work post injury testing

April 24, 2016
Amber Hovey - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

Avera Family Holy Hospital offers area businesses a way to reduce workplace injuries through its Physical Capacity Profile (PCP) testing.

In 2013, Avera expanded its occupational medical services by purchasing a special testing system that is used to measure new employees' physical capabilities as well as post injury.

"It was so good for us that we decided to offer it to other businesses," said Angie Olsen, RN, and director of occupational health and wellness.

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"This is a proven system that is based on years of testing," said Olsen. "When we medically document that a new employee has the strength to perform the requirements of their new job, the opportunity for injury is substantially reduced."

The PCP test is a 30 minute computerized test that collects 28 different measurements based off isometric and dynamic lifting. Default tests include grip and pinch testing, lung capacity, angle of the spine and body fat.

"Through this comprehensive testing, we can protect new employees by confirming they have the strength to do their job," said Olsen. "Protecting employees is a major reason we expanded to offer this service and it can help small as well as large businesses."

The test uses pounds of pressure to measure each body part, and each test is done three times in order to measure any variance. After a test is completed, a report is printed, which tells what kind of impairments an employee may have. The employee is then assigned a level, one through five. Each level provides a description of the type of work the employee can perform whether sedentary work or very heavy work.

"If a job is a level 5, but the employee only achieves a level 3, then they are not physically fit to perform that specific job," explained Olsen. "PCP helps to put the right person in the right job."

Additional tests can be added to the PCP in order to customize testing to fit specific job tasks and requirements said occupational therapist Rory Johnston.

"Prevention is the big thing here," said Johnston. "It's a good thing for both the employer and the employee."

With post injury and fit for duty testing, Johnston said the tests include addition tests such as pain rate and injury. The test can also aid in determining the best option for rehab and recovery.

"PCP documents an objective baseline of what each employee can do," said Olsen. "If an employee does get hurt, we have a baseline to compare it to.

"This helps with workers' compensation because it allows the physician to assess the baseline and determine rehab wise what we need to do to get the employee back to 100 percent."

Along with providing a baseline of employees' capabilities and help with post injury, the testing system provides a number of other benefits.

"It takes pre employment and post injury testing out of the company's hands," said Olsen. It also saves on medical costs, it can help lower workers' comp premiums, and it can expand an employee's opportunities in the workplace if they achieve a higher level than necessary.

"Employers love knowing what an employee is capable of coming in," said Olsen. "And physicians love having a report to look back on."

Olsen said Avera also aids companies with job analysis and site assessments to help match job positions to the correct job level.

"The whole goal is to prevent mishaps and injuries at work," said Olsen. "We would love to help companies build a safer work place."

For more information, contact Angie Olsen at 362-6284 or Rory Johnston at 362-6412. Interested persons may also view the website, follow the tab at the top of the page called product. The site provides benefits, a sample test report, and a short video demonstration.



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