A THIRTY YEAR PERSPECTIVE
Food warehouse workers injuries thirty years ago, a validation study in food warehousing. Found that newly hired individuals whose measured physical abilities were less than the routinely encountered job demands experienced injury rates. Two and a half times that of those whose measured physical abilities met or exceeded those demands. This study, completed by Advanced Ergonomics, Inc. (AEI) in 1990, identified a need for mitigation.
FOOD WAREHOUSE WORKERS INJURIES
A successful strategy to reduce this risk gap between routine food warehouse physical demands and the average job candidate abilities. In the years since this study was completed, AEI has completed detailed onsite analyses quantifying the strength. Energy expenditure demands of food selector jobs in over 400 locations, comprising some 50,000 hours of energy expenditure monitoring of workers.
During this time frame AEI evaluates, documents the physical strength, aerobic capacity of over 400,000 food warehouse job applicants. An analysis of this wealth of data over time indicates that the physical demand requirements in food warehouses has increased significantly. While the physical abilities of the average job candidate have decreased, resulting in a risk gap that is now greater than ever.
This increase has contributed to overall work intensity and associated energy expenditure requirement that NIOSH considers in high need of mitigation. The average body weight and BMI of job candidates has increased and the overall average aerobic capacity has decreased. Resulting in approximately 62% of job candidates having lower fitness levels than the average job requirements. These candidates are approximately twice as likely to experience a job related injury in a food warehouse. As those with fitness levels that meet or exceed the job demands. As such, an obvious need for mitigation to reduce this risk gap, the associated injuries, costs, negative impacts on business.
Mitigation could accomplish lower work demands, i.e. productivity requirements, or by adding headcount to accomplish the same work output. However, these approaches are not likely to be feasible given their costs that would decrease profits. Mitigation strategy has proven repeatedly, to be cost-efficient, legally defensible in the use of job-specific physical abilities testing during the employment process. Qualifying job candidates as capable of meeting the physical demands of the job. Employers can drastically lower their overall injury experience and associated costs as well as lower turnover.
AEI’s Physical Abilities Testing Program on a foundation in a robust ergonomic and engineering methodology. Validated through three distinct prospective studies in the beverage, retail, and food warehousing and distribution sectors. This proprietary program places a significant emphasis on core job requirements, including strength and energy output. Its effectiveness is particularly notable in sectors characterized by high-intensity labor, such as food warehousing.
To date, AEI has conducted over one million evaluations of job applicants’ physical capabilities on behalf of employers. The data has indicated a remarkable 41% reduction in injuries among new hires, a 21% reduction in employee turnover. Has consistently upheld its legal defensibility across multiple audits by various government agencies.
Given the substantial costs associated with workplace injuries, physical abilities testing remains a highly viable risk mitigation tactic. It stands out as not only an effective solution but also a cost-efficient one, offering a substantial return on investment.