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Functional Fitness Evaluation

Functional Fitness Evaluation (FFE)

Benefits of a Functional Fitness Evaluation

A functional fitness evaluation (FFE) is a series of function tests to mirror the physical demands of the specific position a candidate will be employed in. These tests are conducted based on the clients Physical Demands Analysis that documents all the physical requirements of the position and job tasks.

The FFE is designed to reduce the risk of being injured at the workplace to ensure the candidate is physically able to perform the duties of the position they are performing.

When is a Functional Fitness Evaluation (FFE) used?

Pre-employment: Dramatically reduce the chance of injury by ensuring the candidate is able to perform the tasks of a job they need to perform.

Post-injury return to work: Ensuring employees are ready to return to work to through an assessment to ensure there is not a risk of further injury.

Transfer Positions: Ensuring employees are physically ready to take on new job tasks to avoid injury.

How the Functional Fitness Evaluation (FFE) Results Work

  • Assess whether potential candidates can meet the essential physical demands of a specific job or task.
  • Reduce the risk by assigning new employees to job tasks that match their current physical abilities.
  • Establish a baseline history for the physical abilities required for the job tasks assigned and provide appropriate accommodations where applicable.

Benefits of an FFE Program

A FFE system is a complement to any existing system looking at being proactive with risks associated with performing physical activities. Workplace injuries can have both a costly and sociological efforts on the employer and the employee.

Research shows that FFEs can reduce employee injuries.  Studies show that implementing a proper FFE program can:

  • Injuries were reduced by 48% by having the right employee for the right job tasks.
  • Lost Time Injuries were decreased by 95%.
  • Musculoskeletal injuries were reduced by 55%.
  • Worker retention increased by 25%
  • Cost per claim were 5 to 10 times lower from having a better knowledge of physical tasks they needed to perform.


Functional fitness testing is simply a proactive standard for site access and job capability. It is simply a partnership between the employer and employee to ensure a safe and foreseeable work environment is provided.

Accuracy and Defensibility of FFE’s

A FFE needs to be a good representation and be accurate and defensible. This ensures fairness to the candidates but also supports productivity improvements and a safer work environment.

Key factors to consider:

The functional fitness evaluation is based on a Physical Demands Analysis (PDA) that meets the job tasks occupational requirements. A PDA is job specific for the job tasks being performed and is used by one of our certified professionals in order to have a fair analysis of the candidates capabilities.

Testing and physical evaluations are managed to ensure employee confidentiality and fairness.

The SDI Group can assist with the creation of a proper Physical Demands Analysis and depending upon the complexity of the job, a PDA typically requires typically one to three days to complete. A PDA is job specific. The industry standard is for this analysis to be completed by one of the following certified professionals: a kinesiologist, ergonomist, occupational therapist, or physiotherapist.

By their design, well-constructed PDAs can have positive and measurable impact on the continuum from hiring practices through the return-to-work process and between overlapping activities. By definition, and when properly implemented, PDAs provide a detailed description of job requirements.

A PDAs can be used within an organization to support multiple objectives and activities, such as:

  • Candidate hiring inquiries on essential functions
  • Post-offer employment testing (POET)
  • New employee and recurrent employee training
  • Temporary transitional duty task identification
  • Disability and wellness management initiatives
  • Work hardening – physical and occupational therapy
  • Post-incident injury analysis
  • Risk-reduction strategies
  • Job and task rotation

Ongoing monitoring is important to ensure your plan is sustainable and is adding value to your organization.

SDI Group

Functional Fitness Testing

Please contact us for more information or to book a Functional Fitness Evaluation for your employee.