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Fact Sheet: Fit for Duty Medical Screening Questions

Pre-employment medical screenings need to be completed after a job offer has been made and prior to the start date. Each screening should be specific to the physical requirements of the job. In order for an examiner to provide an informed decision to the employer, the request for pre-placement screening must be accompanied by a job description that accurately reflects the physical demands of the position and the right questions must be asked. The manner in which questions are phrased is important to how the questions are answered. Specific, direct questions elicit more detailed answers.


The following questions are effective for collecting relevant information about the candidate’s ability to safely perform the duties of the job that has been offered.


  1. Do you have any medical condition that would prohibit you from completing a physical screening that involves the limited assessment of your medical history and range of motion?
  2. Have you ever had a neck injury or surgery? (Have the candidate turn head side to side and flex and extend his or her neck. Note any reduction in range of motion.)
  3. Have you ever had a wrist injury or surgery? (Have the candidate flex and extend his or her wrists and move each finger.)
  4. Have you ever had an elbow injury or surgery? (Have the candidate flex and extend. With arms extended, have the candidate turn his or her thumbs inward and outward, then abduct and adduct their elbows. Note limitations.)
  5. Have you ever had a shoulder injury or surgery? (Have the candidate move each shoulder in a full circle, touch thumbs behind the back, and reach far-forward and overhead. Note limitations or inability to touch thumbs behind the back and any other limitations.)
  6. Have you ever had a hip injury or surgery? (Have the candidate flex and extend his or her hips and march in place raising knees as high as possible. Note limitations.)
  7. Have you ever had a spinal injury or surgery? (Have the candidate flex and extend his or her back, then twist to the right and to the left. Note limitations.)
  8. Have you ever had a knee injury or surgery? (Have the candidate squat and kneel. Note limitations.)
  9. Have you ever had an ankle injury or surgery? (Have the candidate flex and extend ankles and move in a full circle. Note limitations.)


For any of the above questions are answered in the affirmative, ask the following:


  1. Who treated you (name, medical discipline, location)?
  2. What happened?
  3. When did it happen?
  4. What treatment was given and for how long?
  5. Did the condition impact your ability to perform ADLs?
  6. Did you miss work? If yes, for how long?
  7. Were you prescribed medication? If yes, what medication and for how long?
  8. Do you currently have any issues with the affected body part? If yes, what?


The information above may also be valuable in situations where an employee suffers a workers’ compensation injury. When that happens, the information gathered during the medical screening may help verify the employee’s baseline condition at time of hire and provide information on where old medical records may be found. After an injury, old records help us understand the severity of a pre-existing condition and assist with determining the degree of impairment resulting from the current injury. Worker’s compensation requires an employer to provide medical treatment that returns an injured worker to his or her baseline. While return to 100% normal function is ideal, it is not the standard when the employee has a pre-existing condition. That’s why it’s essential to collect complete functional information during the pre-employment screening.


Note: GuideOne Insurance Loss Control services are for insurance purposes only to assist its staff in the underwriting process. GuideOne Insurance does not warrant or represent that its Loss Control services detect all hazards or potentially harmful conditions, and any remedial or corrective recommendations are not intended as a warranty of compliance with any laws, regulations or standards.

This resource is not intended to limit the information a provider collects, but is intended to be a required component of post-offer, pre-employment medical screenings.

© 2024 GuideOne Insurance. GuideOne® is the registered trademark of the GuideOne Insurance Company. All rights reserved. This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.