What Happens During a Pre-Employment Physical?

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Pre-employment physicals may include inquiries regarding the applicant's health, tests of specific physical abilities and drug and alcohol testing. According to About.com, employers with greater than 15 employees may require pre-employment physical exams, but should only request these exams after a job offer has been made to protect against any possibility of discrimination in the hiring process.

Pre-employment physical exams help assure an employer that a future employee is up to the physical demands of a given job, according to Physicians Now. The physicals also provide employers with some protection against lawsuits regarding on-the-job injuries if the employee in question has a condition that contributed to the injury.

Physicians Now details the elements of a typical pre-employment physical examination, which include recording height, weight, blood pressure and temperature. Employees may also be asked for information on their prescription medications and supplements, since side effects sometimes include drowsiness or other dangerous conditions. Employees entering high-stress jobs may also have to answer questions regarding stress and depression. Many companies require drug and alcohol tests, which can be administered by measuring substance levels in breath, blood, urine or hair. In addition, physicians may check an employee's reflexes, joint health, cardiac health and respiratory function, as well as check for vision or hearing problems.