Trent Worden, Assistant Director of Therapy Services and Steve Knight, Chief Executive Officer for United Helpers

Safety First

Ogdensburg - Congratulations! You’ve been offered a job. You’ve read the job description, you have a pretty good idea of what the job entails, where you will be working and what you will be doing; but, do you really know physically what the job requires?
“Historically, a lot of time and energy is spent training new employees to follow proper procedure and to follow regular day-to-day protocol,” said Ned Hirt, Director of Human Resources, United Helpers. “What are often overlooked are the physical aspects of the job; can the applicant physically do the work and do they have the ability to do the job safely?”
United Helpers recently introduced an Informed Hiring Program designed to be able to create real life work-site situations to assess an applicant’s physical ability to meet essential functions of the job. As a condition of employment, all applicants in selected work groups will complete a Post Offer/Pre-Employment Work Skills Assessment (WSA) that has been designed in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities ACT.
“The assessment is a tool for perspective employees, as well as for United Helpers,” Hirt continued. “It provides applicants with a clear understanding of the physical demands of the job they will be involved in day-to-day and United Helpers’ commitment to workplace safety.”
Depending on the type of employment opportunity, the WSA involves several tasks such as pushing, pulling, lifting, etc. consistent with the job the applicant would be performing. Candidates also perform basic aerobic activities, such as squatting and kneeling to simulate situations that may occur during an average work day. Vitals are monitored at regular intervals and a test may be halted should the need arise.
“The WSA provides a very objective look at an applicant’s ability to perform various work functions, rather than traditional subjective methods” said Trent Worden, Assistant Director of Rehabilitative Services, and one of the program administrators. “The WSA are geared with a focus on safety for both United Helpers and the applicant. Applicant’s heart rate and blood pressure are closely monitored and each task is demonstrated to ensure safe work habits are practiced.”
Several members of the United Helpers staff have undergone the WSA in order to get a first hand idea of what is expected of their employees. “It is a real eye opener,” said Stephen E. Knight, Chief Executive Officer, United Helpers, upon completion of the program. “The program reminds prospective employees of the importance of not only the work that is required, but to be safe while performing it.”

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