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Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1999 Feb 1;24(3):269-74.

The effects of prework functional screening on lowering an employer's injury rate, medical costs, and lost work days.

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  • 1WorkSmart, Sparks, Maryland, USA.



The data in this study were gathered retrospectively after the progress of program development in terms of employee outcomes within an organization. This design characterizes a retrospective longitudinal study.


To determine whether prework functional screens are effective in lowering the incidence of work-related back sprains or strains, related medical costs, and lost work days within an organization.


Musculoskeletal injuries are considered the leading cause of disability for people during their working years. Back injuries are the most common reason for workers' decreased work capacity and reduced leisure time. The increased rate of injury and escalating workers' compensation costs are are a major force motivating companies to implement a tool that can be effective in lowering back sprain or strain injuries and containing their workers' compensation costs. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports a major objective of increasing the number of companies offering back injury prevention programs by the year 2000.


The study follows the effects realized when a medical center institutes close case management, early return to work policies, and prework functional screens in three stages over the course of 10.5 years.


The severity of back sprains or strains, related medical costs, and lost work days were significantly lower with the use of prework functional screens on all new employees hired into physically laborious jobs.


This study offers employers a proven effective tool that can be used to help lower the severity of on-the-job back sprains or strains, resulting medical costs, and lost work days in their organization.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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