You’re interviewing a candidate for a safety sensitive position and you notice their grip seems weak when you shake their hand. Maybe it’s nerves? You shrug it off because they tell you they passed their last physical. What you don’t know is that they developed hand arm vibration syndrome in their previous job. And without detecting and managing this condition, it could worsen and affect their ability to effectively and safely perform safety sensitive work.
Here are 9 other common health concerns, which, if left unchecked, could do the same:
1. Undiagnosed or poorly controlled hypertension
This is also referred to as high blood pressure. Signs and symptoms include headaches, light headedness, vertigo, tinnitus (buzzing or hissing in the ears), altered vision, or fainting. Without properly treating this condition, your worker could pose a safety risk if they suddenly become incapacitated. They could also end up staying home sick more frequently or end up on disability leave.
2. Undiagnosed or poorly controlled diabetes
Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to high or low sugar levels, which cause extreme fatigue. If not treated properly, diabetes can also lead to vision loss, fainting, or even seizures. This could put your employee, their co-workers and/or the public at risk, especially if they are required to drive or operate machinery.
3. Irregular heart rhythms
Signs of this condition can include chest discomfort, dizziness or feeling light-headed, fainting, shortness of breath, and feeling very tired or weak. Much like diabetes and hypertension, if your workers experience any or all of these symptoms while doing safety sensitive work, they could be putting themselves and/or others in danger.
A hernia, which means ‘rupture,’ is when tissue protrudes through part of an organ. This can cause varying degrees of pain and if someone in your workplace has an undiagnosed hernia and performs physically demanding work, the heavy lifting they are required to do could aggravate their condition. In serious cases, your worker may need surgery.
5. Limited range of motion
This is when a joint or body part cannot move through its normal range of motion. If you hire someone without identifying this limitation and addressing it, you could be setting your company up for higher workers’ compensation costs because it could put your worker at a greater risk of injuring themselves on the job.
6. Potential medication concerns
If you hire someone without knowing the medications they may be taking for an illness or injury, you don’t know if the potential side effects are impacting their ability to safely perform safety-sensitive work. For example, some prescription sedatives can slow normal brain function, which may result in fatigue, disorientation and lack of coordination.
7. Poor visual acuity
You can’t tell by looking at the worker you’ve just hired if he or she has poor eyesight. If they are working in a safety-sensitive position, their inability to see well or identify colours could lead to a dangerous error while operating heavy equipment or machinery. Their vision must meet safe standards.
8. Poor hearing acuity
If you hire a worker who seems to be hard of hearing but you don’t identify prior occupational noise exposure before they begin working for you, you could end up paying for their pre-existing hearing loss. Workers’ compensation claims relating to noise exposure are on the rise in Canada and employers should pay close attention to their workers’ hearing health.
9. Chronic back pain
This is pain that persists or progresses over a long period of time. And if you hire someone with chronic back pain to perform heavy lifting or other work that could be too strenuous, their condition could worsen to the point that they further injure themselves. When you are hiring it is important to identify if your worker suffers from this type of pain because they may require accommodation.
Detect these warning signs before they become costly for your employees and your business. To find out which workplace medical testing and assessments can help you identify these health concerns, get in touch with us!