Occupational Medicine

Fitness For Duty Evaluations

Fitness-for-Duty (FFD) is a medical evaluation used to determine if an employee is capable of performing the essential functions of a job without risking injury to themselves or other coworkers. It is also used as a “Return-to-Work” Evaluation after employees have been off work, due to a non-work or work-related condition or illness. These evaluations should be an essential part of your workplace safety programs.

Fitness-for-Duty Evaluations can be performed for both current employees and to ensure previously injured workers can return-to-work without risking re-injury or endangering other employees.

SafeWorks Illinois starts with a detailed assessment each position’s physical and mental requirements so we can translate those requirements medically into a specific, consistent and customized health testing program.

These programs are then implemented by our team of occupational medicine experts to ensure compliance with regulations such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), as well as the guidelines of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

SafeWorks Illinois considers many different tests when executing Fitness-for-Duty Evaluations, including the following:

  • Return-to-Work: Conducted to determine whether an employee is ready to come back after an illness or injury, even after the employee’s physician has cleared him or her. This can be for both work and non-work-related medical issues.
  • Job performance: Conducted if there is a concern that an employee may not be able to perform the essential functions of a job or if an employee is not performing to the level of other workers.

When to do a Fitness-for-Duty Evaluation

  • When an employee is out more than five days;
  • During a job transfer to determine whether they can meet the essential job functions;
  • If an employee has a physical or mental medical condition, which could affect job performance.
  • If an employee is not performing day to day tasks and not meeting expectations.

Properly trained staff and testing equipment is required to properly assess a person’s capability. In addition to a physical exam, a detailed review of medical records, conferring with treating physicians, functional capacity testing, drug and alcohol testing, job-site analysis and other specialized testing can be utilized to make an accurate assessment.

SafeWorks Illinois assures that a recommendation is made by a qualified physician to determine an employee’s ability to meet the physical demands of the job.

  • Evaluate the diagnosis to determine if it is a correct assessment of the employee’s physical or mental condition;
  • Collect information regarding on the job requirements and compare to individual’s physical ability to protect them from worsening their condition

In summary, Fitness-for-Duty Evaluations are an important, complex service line for occupational health service programs that provide tremendous value for employers. In addition to a physical exam, a Fitness-for-Duty Evaluation requires a detailed review of medical records. Depending on the situation conferring with a treating physician, functional capacity testing, cardiovascular stress testing, drug and alcohol testing, job site analysis and other specialized testing can be utilized to make an accurate assessment. The pricing for the services varies on the complexity of the issue. The evaluation may require several visits or additional testing to complete.

A written report is given to determine if the employee is fit for duty or not or if additional testing is required.


Any severe, life-threatening injury or illness should immediately report to the nearest hospital emergency room.

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