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Physical capacity profile testing

The physical capacity profile is a comprehensive testing procedure developed by an orthopedic physician that documents the test subject's physical skills and American Medical Association related impairments. It helps occupational and human resource professionals place employees in the appropriate job to minimize the potential of injury, while documenting each employee's physical capacity and impairments.

The physical capacity profile testing system can be utilized in post-hire testing as well as return-to-duty testing. In post-hire testing, the procedure helps the employer determine an employee's physical capabilities and limitations before they start work. It provides quantitative data that assists in the placement process while meeting all regulatory compliance criteria. Return-to-duty testing allows the employer to be responsible for returning the employee to what their capabilities were upon hire.

The components of the physical capacity profile testing system include:

  • Comprehensive medical review.
  • Upper extremity strength.
  • Lower extremity strength.
  • Trunk strength.
  • Fitness.
  • Spirometry.
  • Active lumbar range of motion.
  • Lower extremity mobility.
  • Maximum lifting capability.
  • Safe lifting technique.


Rapid delivery of test results allows management to quickly place newly hired employees. The data is electronically captured to avoid human error over multiple tests. This allows matching of physical capacity to job demands based on essential functions of the job.

Cost justifications

By reducing the risk of injury, the number of workers' compensation claims and related premiums are also reduced.

Cost-conscious management knows that fewer lost work days due to workers' compensation claims will result in increased productivity and profits.

Medical ratings

The physical capacity profile provides medical documentation of impairment in accordance with the American Medical Association (AMA) Guides (4th Edition). This baseline information is critical in managing future workers' compensation claims with each state's workers' compensation statutes. When applicable, the results are presented in accordance with AMA guidelines.

How can this system benefit me as an employer?

When employees are physically matched to the job, they are substantially less likely to be injured.

Many companies require a post-hire physical. However, the typical physical does not adequately document musculoskeletal imbalances, which could lead to injuries. The standard physician physical is simply not cost-effective or protective in reducing workers' compensation claims.

This system can help human resource professionals correctly place employees. It also can help reduce costs and increased productivity. Fewer lost work days due to workers' compensation claims will result in increase productivity and profits.

How can we get started?

A job description documenting the essential physical requirements of the job is required. The job requirements are then placed into one of the Department of Labor's strength classifications. This information is then compared to the results obtained during the physical capacity profile test to assist in the appropriate placement of employees.

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If you have any questions or would like additional information, please call Tiffany Rutledge at 573.632.5591 or e-mail

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