A position of employment that requires a high standard of safety for both the employee and the public necessitates a pre-employment physical, specifically a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical, in order to obtain a commercial driver’s license. A DOT physical is mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and their guidelines for employee health must be met given the rigorous demands of the job.
Occupations such as driving and transportation require regular DOT physicals during employment in order for the employee to continue working in their current position. Let’s talk about what is involved in a DOT physical and where you can go to have this physical performed for yourself or your employee.
The Goals of a DOT Physical
The purpose of a DOT physical is to determine a potential or current employee’s physical fitness, ability to safely operate a commercial vehicle, and ability to withstand and endure the physical demands of the job. For example, driving requires sitting for extended periods of time, and some of the DOT testing methods can determine whether a person could withstand these physical demands.
The physical also evaluates the person’s ability to perform the intense schedule of the job without endangering their own life or that of the public. Drivers who need to transport materials or operate motor vehicles that carry a certain number of people, or vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds (5 tons), need to undergo a DOT physical.
After passing the exam, a medical certificate (or a laminated card) is provided to the employee, and this is valid for two years. Employees who have health conditions and are receiving treatment may require annual or quarterly DOT physicals, such as those who have diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease.
What Happens During the DOT Medical Exam
The first thing that occurs in a DOT physical is a medical history check. The potential or current employee will have to fill out a medical health history form. This will require information such as current medical conditions, current treatment and medication, past surgeries, and whether they smoke or drink – and the regularity with which he or she uses these substances.
Next is the physical examination, where the medical examiner (who must be certified by the FMCSA in order to legally perform this official exam) will check the following:
- Blood pressure
- Mouth and throat
- Lungs and chest
- Heart (via an electrocardiogram, or EKG)
- Vascular health
- Neurological health
- Musculoskeletal health
- Urine and blood tests (to check blood sugar levels and to test for illegal drugs)
The medical examiner will determine whether the person is fit to drive a commercial vehicle based on the results of the DOT physical.
DOT Physicals in Grand Junction, CO
It is critically important to hire the right people who can safely and legally perform the functions of the job. At WorkPartners Occupational Health, our FMCSA-certified medical examiners provide comprehensive employment physicals, including DOT physicals. We also provide post-offer employment testing.
Our tests are very specific and include a functional capacity evaluation, whereby we use specialized equipment to measure the employee’s ability to perform certain job tasks. We can customize the test based on actual job duties.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a DOT physical for yourself, your employee, or a potential employee, call us today at (970) 241-5585. We look forward to serving you and keeping our roads safe for everyone.