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Work Capacity Evaluation near Dallas, TX

If you have been injured at your place of employment, you may be required to complete a work capacity evaluation, which is also commonly referred to as a functional capacity evaluation (FCE). The process of work capacity examination or FCE compares one’s health status and body functions and structures to the demands of the job and the work environment. In essence, an FCE’s primary purpose is to evaluate a person’s ability to participate in work, although other instrumental activities of daily living that support work performance may also be evaluated. The OWCP Form 5c applies to work capacity evaluation, and if it is required, our medical staff will assist in getting this to the Department of Labor.

Purpose of an FCE

Both the employer and the insurance company want to be sure an injured worker is able to return to work without any further risks posed to them or their co-workers. Therefore, a functional capacity evaluation may be ordered by your employer, a physician, an insurance company, or even a lawyer.

A functional capacity evaluation is comprised of a series of standardized tests to assess the worker’s capacity to complete essential functions like heavy lifting, stamina, flexibility, range of motion, and any other necessary abilities to do a particular job.

Once completed, these tests will answer the following questions:

  • Can you go back to work?

  • Can you return to the same kind of job?

  • Do you need certain accommodations and/or reduced capacity duties?

  • When can you go back to work (if too soon, recovery can be compromised, re-injury can occur, or other workers can be injured)?

In addition, work capacity evaluations can settle a disagreement between the worker and employer regarding the level of any disability and the capacity of work the employee can sustain. This examination will also determine if the worker needs occupational therapy, or qualifies for additional compensation or Social Security benefits.

What Happens During a Work Capacity Evaluation?

This evaluation usually takes place at the end of a physical therapy session, and is often conducted at a medical treatment center. Individuals could be nearing a release from care and treatment following an injury, and our providers can decide on the next steps needed prior to their return to work, or they may decide that additional therapy is needed.

The tests included in a functional capacity evaluation can take from 4 to 6 hours and may be completed over two consecutive days. These assessments will include an interview, a review of the worker’s medical records, a musculoskeletal screening, and a series of tasks to evaluate the person’s endurance and other functions for their particular job. It is of course advised that worker’s always complete the tasks to the best of their ability.

There may be additional exams related to vision, strength, agility, dexterity, and handling of materials. Depending on the job, there can be tests to determine the ability to lift, carry, push, stand, walk, sit, balance, stoop, or kneel. An FCE can also determine the person’s coordination, endurance, and other factors needed for a particular job.

The worker’s discomfort will be monitored throughout their evaluation to document any pain during various activities. Each FCE uses performance-based metrics to predict a worker’s ability to perform their specific job requirements.

Contact Rehab4Work if you have further questions about what to expect from an upcoming functional capacity evaluation, or if you want to make an appointment with one of our medical specialists.


Contact our Work Injury Experts today!

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