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Clinic FAQ

Why do we need to weigh an applicant? What does a retest mean?
Why is a self reported weight not acceptable? What if an applicant wants to lift more than the MAW requires?
Why do you use the cutoff of 140/90 for blood pressure? What if an applicant wants to do an additional stage in the step test?
Why do you use the cutoff of 100BPM for the resting heart rate? Does completing stage 2 or 3 mean you have a better chance of passing?
Can I do the test if I have doctors approval, but the applicant BP is still high? Does completing only stage 1 mean a failing score?
Is a doctors release to return to work, the same as a doctors release to take the test? Does failing the test mean you have a serious health problem?
Is a resting heart rate required to do the test? Why do we ask for both the birth date and age?
Applicant has a signed physicians release form, but the clinic is still concerned over the applicants safety. How long do we need to keep the paperwork for an individual who has taken the test?
What do I do if the battery is dead on the heart rate monitor? What determines pass/fail on a test?
Where do I get the battery for the Polar heart rate monitor? What happens when applicant consumed caffeine within 2 hours of test and fails?
How do I contact Polar? How do we calculate criteria?
Where can I get weights for the dynamic lift test? Should the applicant postpone the test under any circumstances?
What can I do if the heart rate monitor will not fit around the applicant? What should be done if the client does not notify the applicant using the appointment form?
What if the applicant does not have a social security number or refuses to give it? Should the client notify the applicant of possible areas of trouble, like nicotine, caffeine or medications affecting the test or the type of clothing that should be worn?
Why does the entire test have to be redone after 8 weeks? What happens when an applicant has nicotine within the 1 hour window prior to testing and fails the test?

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Why do we need to weigh an applicant?
We weigh an applicant so that the exact level of work load can be determined.  This data is included in the step test equation which enables us to calculate the candidates aerobic capacity.

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Why is a self reported weight not acceptable?
A self reported weight is not acceptable because the applicant's weight is one of the critical variables that determines the step test score.  If the applicant's estimate is off by as few as 5 lbs, it can make a difference in their score.  They could possibly fail a test that they should have passed, or pass a test that they should have failed.  In certain circumstances however, an applicant may weigh more than the scale can measure.  If this occurs put 350+ (or the highest weight on your scale) on the data sheet and document in the comment section what the exact circumstances were.

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Why do you use the cutoff of 140/90 for blood pressure?
The standard practice of using 140/90 provides greater assurance that the subject will be at minimal risk of injury during the test.  This cutoff is more conservative then the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine), so the applicant is not at any undue risk of injury.  This also falls under the World Health Organization guidelines.  A blood pressure greater than either >140 or >90 meets the requirement for needing doctors approval.

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Why do you use the cutoff of 100BPM for the resting heart rate?
We use 100 BPM for the resting heart rate because the higher the heart rate is at rest, the chances are greater for error in the heart rates recorded during the step test.  If the results are impacted a re-test may be called for.

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Can I do the test if I have a doctors approval, but the applicant BP is still high?
YES, as long as it is not over the 200/115 cutoff and if you are comfortable doing so.  As the test administrator for the applicant, you are a better judge of whether they can perform this test without undue risk.

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Is a doctors release to return to work, the same as a doctors release to take the test?
NO, a release form to return to work is not the same as release form to take the physical abilities test.  If the applicant falls outside any AEI restrictions on blood pressure, heart rate, health questionnaire or medications, they will need an AEI doctors release form signed by a physician prior to testing.

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Is a resting heart rate required to do the test?
We highly recommend checking the resting heart rate before giving a test even when there is no step test required by the protocol.  However, we only require a resting heart rate if there is a step test included in the protocol.

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Applicant has a signed physicians release form, but the clinic is still concerned over the applicants safety.
It is possible that the doctor did not know the protocol, despite the information provided in the physicians release form.  If approval has been granted the test can proceed.  However, if the test administrator feels there are safety concerns, they can either do the test, confirm with the physician or reschedule the test.  It is ultimately up to the clinic whether or not the test is given.  In any event, the clinic needs to make sure the company is kept informed of the situation.

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What do I do if the battery is dead on the heart rate monitor?
Reschedule the test and get the battery replaced.  We recommend that you have spare monitors and/or batteries on hand. 

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Where do I get the battery for the Polar heart rate monitor?
Advanced Ergonomics, Inc. obtains batteries directly from Polar, but Radio shack should be able to sell you a replacement heart watch battery.
NOTE:  Changing the battery on you own may void the watch warranty, so you may want to check you warranty information first before attempting to change the battery.

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How do I contact Polar?

Contact Name: Customer Service
Address:

Polar Elctro, Inc.

Attn: Technical Service

1111 Marcus Avenue

Suite M15
Lake Success, NY  11042

Phone: (800) 227-1314
Fax: (516) 364-5454

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Where can I get weights for the dynamic lift test?
Advanced Ergonomics, Inc. obtains weights from a website.  The weights are sand bag weights.  The website can be found at www.housmann.com.  Our contact person is Butch at 713-664-2200.

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Where can I do if the heart rate monitor will not fit around the applicant?
If the strap on the monitor will not fit around the applicant, and the test administrator is unable to develop an alternative that will work, such as using two straps together or using surgical tape to secure the transmitter on the chest, call Advanced Ergonomics.

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What if the applicant does not have a social security number or refuses to give it?
If the applicant refuses to provide a social security number, Advanced Ergonomics will be unable to process the test.  The social security number is the only unique identifier available for an applicant on the test.  If the applicant does not have OR refuses to give his/her social security number, leave that section of the data collection form blank and document the circumstances.  The test administrator may also contact the employer to obtain the needed information.

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What does retest mean?
A retest is a 2nd test that was administered.  Returning from a doctors appointment with approval is not considered a retest. 

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Why does the entire test have to be redone after 8 weeks?
Advanced Ergonomics requires that the entire test be redone after 8 weeks because applicant deconditioning may have occurred.  In other words, the applicant may no longer meet the aerobic or strength requirements of the job.  Deconditioning occurs when an applicant who has had little or no activity  during an 8 week period, which may lead to a decrease in their aerobic capacity.

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What if an applicant wants to lift more than the MAW (Maximum Available Weight) requires?
Inform the applicant that they have lifted all the weight that is required of the protocol.  If they still insist, tell them that the protocol does not require that they lift any more weight, and that lifting more will put them at risk of injury.  Lifting more weight than is required will not impact the test results in any way.
NOTE:  As the test administrator, you may incur more liability if an injury occurs while allowing them to continue lifting past the MAW.

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What if an applicant wants to do an additional stage in the step test?
Inform the applicant that it is unnecessary to do any more stages, and that they are putting themselves at risk if they do.  If they still insist, inform them that the protocol does not require that they complete any more stages.
NOTE:  As the test administrator, you may incur more liability if an injury occurs while allowing them to continue with the step test. 

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Does completing stage 2 or 3 mean you have a better chance of passing?
A person who can complete the additional stages is usually in better aerobic condition, but that alone does not determine pass/fail.  Depending on criteria, a stage 2 applicant may pass, where at a different location a stage 2 applicant may fail. 

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Does completing only stage 1 mean a failing score?
Depending on criteria, stage 1 applicant's may pass, whereas at a different location, stage 2 applicants may fail.  Longer performance during the step test indicates a higher level of aerobic fitness.  The job criteria determines pass/fail.

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Does failing the test mean you have a serious health problem?
NO, failing the physical abilities test does not mean you have a serious health problem.  A failing score does indicate that you do not meet the requirement of the job.

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Why do we ask for both the birth date and the age?
We ask for both simply to verify that the age is correct.  Most people know their birth date, but may still give the wrong age.  An inaccurate age may not only affect how the test is given, but may drastically affect the scores.  We ask that the test administrators verify the applicant's age themselves instead of relying on the applicant to give the correct age. 

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How long do we need to keep the paperwork for an individual who has taken the test?
We recommend that you keep the paperwork for the amount of time the laws in your state require you to keep medical records.

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What determines pass/fail on a test?
Pass/fail is determined when we calculate an applicant's estimated aerobic capacity and the amount of weight they were able to lift on each test compared to the requirements.  The applicant must have at least a 100% on each portion of the test to pass the entire test;  the weakest link or lowest score becomes the overall score.  Advanced Ergonomics does not take the scores from each portion of the test and average them together. 

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What happens when an applicant consumes caffeine within the 2 hour window prior to testing and they fail the test?
A)  The company will be called and offered a re-test for that individual.  We also explain to the company the time frame for nicotine and caffeine.  The company should give this information to every applicant so they each have an equal chance to perform at the best of their ability.  Retest policies differ from client to client.  A retest is not guaranteed.  If a job candidate knows he has the option to reschedule the test, then they should do so before taking the test.  If the company refuses the re-test, Advanced Ergonomics will process the test "as is."  We will send a memo along with a sample appointment form with the results.
B)  Caffeine can increase the heart rate, which could lead to a failing score.
C)  A job applicant should refrain from consuming caffeine 2 hours prior to testing. 

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What happens when an applicant has nicotine within the 1 hour window prior to testing and they fail the test?
A)  The company will be called and offered a re-test for that individual.  We also explain to the company the time frame for nicotine and caffeine.  The company should give this information to every applicant so they each have an equal chance to perform at the best of their ability.  Retest policies differ from client to client.  A retest is not guaranteed.  If a job candidate knows he has the option to reschedule the test, then they should do so before taking the test.  If the company refuses the re-test, Advanced Ergonomics will process the test "as is."  We will send a memo along with a sample appointment form with the results.
B)  Nicotine can increase the heart rate, which could lead to a failing score.
C)  A job applicant should refrain from using nicotine 1 hour prior to testing. 

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Should the client notify the applicant of possible areas of trouble, like nicotine, caffeine or medications affecting the test or the type of clothing that should be worn?
A)  Yes, the client should notify the applicant through the use of the AEI appointment form.  They should also advise them to wear lose comfortable clothingm and have plenty of rest.  The company should give this information to every applicant, so they each have an equal chance to perform at the best of their ability.
B)  Caffeine/nicotine can increase the heart rate leading to a failing score.

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What should be done if the client does not notify the applicant through the use of the appointment form?
If the client did not notify the applicant about caffeine, nicotine, medications or what type of clothing to wear, Advanced Ergonomics will recommend a retest.  You may try to get the applicant to reschedule the test.  Notify Advanced Ergonomics that the client is not making use of the appointment form.  If the applicant does not want to reschedule, give the test and document on the data sheet.  Advanced Ergonomics will then talk to the client regarding the appointment form issues. 

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Should the applicant postpone the test under any circumstances?
Yes, if the applicant has any reason, such as illness, having worked long hours just prior to the test or taking medications, it is advisable to reschedule the test.  You will need to contact the company to make sure rescheduling the test is okay. 

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How do we calculate criteria?
We calculate criteria for each company separately.  An Advanced ERgonomics professional conducts a job site analysis for each facility and monitors the incumbent workers' heart rates while performing the job.  We then pool the data on each monitored worker and develop an average energy expenditure for the step test criteria.  We also look at how much weight each worker handles on a routine basis for the strength criteria.