Some of the 350 new employees hired by Campbell County School District each year may be required to pass physicals before they are hired.
Those with “safety sensitive” jobs like custodians, food service workers, bus drivers and maintenance workers in particular may have to go through a test before getting the job.
It’s a step recommended by Jeff McClaren, the district’s safety risk manager, and Larry Reznicek, human resource manager. School trustees encouraged the two to develop such a requirement after hearing their comments at a meeting Tuesday.
“One of the things I can’t do is predict risk,” McClaren told trustees. “One of the things that could help me and protect the school district is to have a post-offer physical in place.”
McClaren said it would mean that physicals would be required of those who qualify for a position that would be covered by worker’s compensation before they are hired.
The physical would be job specific, with testing including lifting, range of motion, overhead lifting, push-pull requirements and more. The exams would include a basic physical, job specific testing and an extensive questionnaire about previous injuries, surgeries or accidents.
It would not be done retroactively, but only for new hires.
It’s a way to do some job screening and to make sure somebody who can’t do what their job would require isn’t hired, McClaren said.
He suggested that several local companies, including Campbell County Memorial Hospital, now offer such screenings for businesses in the community.
Last year, the district hired 350 new employees and about 150 of them were in positions in which the physicals could be required, Reznicek estimated. With the physicals costing from $100 to $300, the cost could be about $30,000 to $35,000 a year.
But McClaren said he expects that cost to be offset by the gains the district would make in safety sensitive positions.
“One of the things I believe we’ll see here is that people will be more physically fit and adapted for the job. There will be less turnover and I think the cost will go down,” he said.
At some point, trustees will have to adopt a policy requiring the exams. Specific job descriptions also will have to be developed and available to screeners, and supervisors would require training. The district also would have to decide what positions require the screening.
Reznicek said the requirement could delay some new hires, even if the position needs to be filled soon, such as those who work with special needs students.
The district also should look into the impact for job transfers within the district, whether from school to school or within a school, trustee Anne Ochs suggested.
While trustees informally encouraged the move, no time-line was established for when such screening would start or be required.