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Incorporating functional testing into your HR strategy provides an extra line of defence against employee injury or illness and musculoskeletal conditions. Musculoskeletal disorders that can occur at work include sprains, back injury and degeneration of joints and bones. Workplace injuries such as these have a negative impact on the employer, the employee and their co-workers. At KINNECT we offer functional testing to assist in your goal of achieving a zero rate of injury in the workplace. Our testing includes both pre-employment functionals and post-injury functional capacity evaluations.

Pre-Employment Functionals

A pre-employment functional is an evaluation of an individual’s physical capacity to safely perform the demands of a certain job. In our experience, pre-employment functionals provide maximum benefit when based upon the specific physical requirements of an applicant’s proposed role. KINNECT offer a standard pre-employment functional which includes the following testing:

  • Par-Q Questionnaire – this is a physical activity readiness questionnaire which ascertains whether the candidate is fit to perform a functional. Indicators include whether the candidate is currently experiencing chest pain, dizziness or other health concerns that may preclude them from testing.
  • Height, Weight, BMI and Blood Pressure
  • Grip Strength – grip strength is measured in kilograms with both left and right hands tested. The result is dependent on the candidate’s biological gender and is compared to the grip strength norms for their age.
  • Musculoskeletal Special Tests
  • Postural Tolerances – maintaining a (balanced) kneel and squat for 30 seconds or greater
  • Cardiovascular Fitness Step Test – 3 minutes with a step height of 30.5cm
  • Lifting – floor to shoulder (4 reps)
  • Carrying – waist to waist (2 reps x 20m)
  • Job Specific Testing

Job specific testing can be developed upon review of  your company’s existing job dictionaries. In the event that a job dictionary is not available, KINNECT can work in consultation with you to develop one. Click here to learn more about how a job dictionary can assist in injury prevention and management.

Benefits of pre-employment functional testing include:

  • Hire the right candidate – improved ability in identifying if a potential employee has the functional capacity for the role
  • Meet OHS legislative requirements – greater focus on assessing an individual’s specific ability to safely perform the role
  • Validity and reliability – greater validity and reliability with regards to testing components and procedures
  • Identify risk – improved identification of functional deficits that can be appropriately managed should you wish to pursue employment

Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCEs)

Functional capacity evaluations differ from pre-employment functionals as they as designed to assess an individual’s capacity for work post-injury. Our high trained exercise physiologists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists conduct FCEs either on site or in our clinics across Australia.

If a work based or onsite FCE is performed, the employee will be requested to demonstrate their capacity to perform their usual duties. Based on this capacity, an opinion will be made regarding their safety if they were to return to pre-injury duties. In certain instances, the worker may also be requested to demonstrate their capacity to perform suitable duties available within the workplace. This allows return to work recommendations to be formulated if the employee is deemed unsafe to return to pre-injury duties.

Clinic based FCEs attempt to replicate an employee’s pre-injury job demands by simulating their duties within our clinic. The employee will be requested to demonstrate their capacity to perform certain tasks. The weights, dynamic and positional tolerances tested are based on the employee’s position description or job dictionary. In the event that these documents are unavailable, KINNECT will attempt to reproduce the functional demands through subjective reports.

Let KINNECT assist in your goal of achieving a zero rate of injury in the workplace

In both forms of functional testing, it is not the allied health professional’s responsibility to decide which risks are acceptable. Our role is to help you by providing meaningful and evidence-based information for which to base those decisions on.


  1. Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Functional Capacity Evaluations:
  2. Legge, Jennifer 2013, “The evolving role of physiotherapists in pre-employment screening for workplace injury prevention: are functional capacity evaluations the answer?” Physical Therapy Reviews, 18(5), pp. 350-357.

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