What is a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE)?

A Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) is a set of physical tests and observations that are used to determine the ability of the injured worker to perform a number of actions.

A FCE can help you to understand your worker’s capabilities and limitations, and can assist you in making informed decisions that are in the best interest of the worker and the workplace during the rehabilitation process.


8The WorkHab® Model

SRC Solutions uses the WorkHab Functional Capacity Evaluation model. This is an internationally recognised evaluation tool that enables a licensed evaluator to objectively measure, determine and report on the functional abilities of an individual in both the home and work environment.

Find out further by visiting the WorkHab International website http://www.workhab.com/


Why is it useful?

A FCE can be used to determine an individual’s safe capabilities, to establish and monitor rehabilitation goals, and to aid return to work facilitation. Put simple, it helps take the guess game out of determining what the injured worker’s limitation are.

How you may ask? The key benefit of this type of evaluation is it provides 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 of the worker.

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 stakeholders as it allows them to address these limitations specifically.


When is the best time?

An FCE can be completed at any time during the return to work process, depending on the information you require. Some examples would include:

  • To identify baseline capacity prior to return to work
  • To obtain information to facilitate a final medical clearance or permanent modified duties (PMD) certificate
  • To identify barriers if progress in the return to work has stalled
  • In circumstances surrounding redeployment, and
  • In the claims settlement process

We have also found that a FCE is best used after a Workplace Assessment or Vocational Assessment are completed. The reason being is that the evaluator can look at what opportunities have been identified and match the physical capabilities of the worker to these opportunities.


Who can assess?

The WorkHab Functional Capacity Evaluators are required to be allied health professionals such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists and exercise physiologists who have undergone comprehensive training to become a licensed WorkHab System Evaluator. They are also required to complete ongoing training annually.

At SRC Solutions we are lucky to have two very experienced practitioners completing these assessments, Tanya Steward and Gillian Adams.


6Tanya Stewart (Licensed WorkHab® FCE Assessor)

Tanya enjoys using the clinical reasoning skills she has developed over the years as a Physiotherapist to identify the barriers to a safe and sustainable return to work to assist workers with musculoskeletal injuries return to suitable employment. She has a particular passion for early intervention to ensure an early return to work following an injury.



7Gillian Adams (Licensed WorkHab® FCE Assessor)

Gillan’s has outstanding technical skills, supplement by her tertiary education and absolute commitment to assisting individuals find a solution that minimises the risk of injury or assist the injured employee work without aggravating their pre-existing symptoms.




Need assistance?

If you need any further information or would like to discuss any of our other Workplace Rehabilitation Provider services, do not hesitate to contact Liz Bleasdale on (02) 6282 6122 or email her directly liz.bleasdale@srcsolutions.com.au. Alternatively, you can submit a referral for this service online.