What is a Functional Capacity Evaluation?

manual handling

May 7th, 2013

The WorkHab ® Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) is a unique model when it comes to functional capacity assessments.

Evaluators are required to be allied health professionals such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists and exercise physiologists that have undergone comprehensive training to become a licenced WorkHab ® FCE System Evaluator. They are also required to complete ongoing training annually to renew this licence.

The key benefit of these evaluations is that they provide workplaces with clear and objective guidelines regarding an injured worker’s ability to carry out the physical components of their duties. They not only rely on observations made by the evaluator and reports made by the worker during the assessment, but also the physiological response.

A series of activities are carried out during the assessment including:

  • a grip test
  • cardiovascular fitness test (step test)
  • postural tolerance tests (sitting, standing, squatting and kneeling)
  • safe maximum lifting capacity
  • endurance lift evaluation
  • safe maximum carrying capacity evaluation
  • job specific tasks as required
  • manual handling analysis

At completion of the assessment, the data collected is entered into the WorkHab ® specific software which is used for reporting purposes. A comprehensive written report is provided which will outline the functional limitations (if any) both physical and in some instances psychosocial.

Some of the possible limitations which can be identified include, fear avoidance behaviours, anxiety, depression, workplace issues, physical impairments, poor manual handling techniques and a sensitive nervous system. Identifying these issues can be a valuable tool for workplaces and rehabilitation coordinators as it allows them to address these limitations specifically.

We have found that a FCE is best utilised after a Workplace Assessment or Vocational Assessment (VOC) are completed. The reason being is that the evaluator can look at what opportunities have been identified in a VOC Assessment  for example, and match the physical capabilities of the worker to these opportunities.

A FCE can provide a workplace with realistic and objective results which reduce a ‘hit and miss’ approach to return to work, in particular when developing rehabilitation programs, this in turn allows for better outcomes for the worker that are not only safe but sustainable.

© SRC Solutions 2013