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Can You Really Lift 100 Pounds?

If you’re applying for a job with a construction company and say you can lift 100 pounds, you better make sure you can do it comfortably. One Kannapolis employer is now using a new fitness exam for prospective hires aimed at reducing worker’s compensations claims.

At the Northeast Rehab center in Concord, physical therapist Sandie Warantz is showing off one of the first things someone applying for a position with the Wayne Brothers construction company might have to do.

The sled weighs the same as equipment required for working with concrete. It’s part of a new “fit-for-duty” exam developed by Carolinas HealthCare System for Wayne Brothers.

Construction companies often require fitness tests, but they don’t always measure someone’s ability to push, pull and hold certain positions for extended periods of time. 

Wayne Brothers had a problem with employees passing their fitness tests but not being able to do their job. So the company asked Carolinas HealthCare to design a better test. That’s where Warantz and her sled come in. She also monitors an applicant’s heart rate and blood pressure. 

“Initially someone may come in and if you ask them, ‘Do you have pain?’, they’ll probably say ‘No’," Warantz says. "But the test may reveal some of those things as far as their pain or if they are unable to lift, so we’ll look at their heart rate along with whether they’re actually physically able to do the job.”  

Since they started requiring the exam last October, Wayne Brothers says only 80 percent of applicants have passed. 

The company also says the severity of worker’s compensation claims filed by employees has gone down. Other companies are now expressing interest in the exam.