Comp Clues



By Belinda Hays, PT
| Date: 06/01/2009

Susan and Dennis Isernhagen have developed a new comprehensive work injury management and prevention program in their corporation DSI Work Solutions, Inc.  Progressive Physical Therapy, PC is a certified DSI Provider, offering Job Function Matching, Functional Capacity Assessments, and Work Solutions Consultation for work injury management and prevention.

A significant source of cost for business and industry is the expenses of the injured worker.  Expenses to the company include the expenses of lost days compensation to the injured worker, medical care and management, lost production, and increased administrative costs, among others.  It is estimated that the indirect costs of a work-related injury are 4 to 5 times the direct costs of compensation to the worker.  This translates not only to significant costs to business and industry, but also to the economy and society as a whole.

Job Function Matching is a proactive solution to helping to decrease the cost and expense of work injuries through evaluation of the exact physical demands of the job, definition of specific tasks within the job, identification of risk areas, and initiation of preventative measures to injury.

Job Function Matching is the matching of a worker to the functional demands of the job.  Use of a valid job matching method provides OBJECTIVE INFORMATION on the tasks involved in performing a specific job and OBJECTIVELY measures the worker’s physical ability to perform the specific tasks identified in the job.

The first step of job matching is developing a validated Job Function Description of a specific job.  Upon having an accurate Job Function Description based on the actual objective physical demands of the job, a Job Function Test for that job can be developed.  The Job Function Test is used to objectively measure the physical abilities of the worker.

The objective information obtained in a Job Function Test may be used for preventative measures in post-offer testing, for early return to work testing and intervention, for reporting objective information to the treating physician and to the case manager, and as a basis for Functional Capacity Assessment.

Job Function Matching provides solutions for the employer with an injured worker by objectively identifying those specific tasks of a job that the worker can and cannot perform.  This allows for safe early return to work with appropriate and accurate restrictions or return to the same job with temporary modifications.  Productivity can be maintained and lost days limited.  Weekly Job Function Testing on those tasks with which the worker has difficulty allows the employer to see the progress of the worker and provides early identification of the worker’s ability to return to full duty and out of the “light duty transitional work” abyss.  This process also reduces the chance for re-injury of the worker.

Job Function Matching also provides solutions for the treating physician and for the case manager.  The Job Function Test gives the physician and case manager objective information on the person against the job.  The release to return to work can be specific and objective to the job.  By updating the Job Function Test weekly, the physician and case manager can have this information in an earlier manner, allowing earlier return to work release.  Specific job goals and progress toward those goals can be monitored on a regular basis.

The worker also benefits with Job Function Matching as he or she is tested against the actual physical requirements of the job.  Early return to work is beneficial for the worker physically, psychologically, socially, and financially.  With regular testing, the worker can also see the progress being made toward return to work without restrictions or with temporary modifications.

Job Function Matching is a proven method for successful work injury management and prevention.  With accurate Job Function Matching, all stakeholders involved with work injuries benefit significantly by having objective information regarding the worker and the ability to safely do the job.  Costs can be reduced for all involved.  Job Function Matching is a concept that works and provides solutions that last.