From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Pre-Hire Carpal Tunnel Testing Not Cost Effective

Companies that decide whether or not to hire job candidates based on pre-employment tests that assess a person’s risk of developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) are possibly wasting money, a new study indicates.

Published in the July 2004 issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the study also indicates that employers whose hiring practices don’t include employees who “fail” the CTS test could be ultimately hurting their own bottom line.

The conclusions were arrived at after researchers reviewed the CTS test results of 2,150 employees at an automobile parts manufacturing facility. The tests, ordered by the employer, took place between 1996 and 2001, although hiring decisions were not based on the tests.

Fifteen percent of the employees reviewed in the study were found to have abnormal nerve-test results at hiring, indicating these employees to be at a higher risk of developing CTS. After reviewing records through May 2003, the researchers, headed by Dr. Alfred Franzblau of the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, found that a total of 35 workers in the study made worker’s compensation claims for CTS.

The researchers indicated that while the incidence rate of CTS was higher for the employees who had abnormal nerve-test results prior to hiring, overall 63 percent of the claims were from workers who had previously tested “normal.”

According to Franzblau, when the cost of testing is factored into the mix, the overall expense for a company refusing to hire potential employees based on test results would exceed the benefits from the testing