physicals

Physical Exams

Physical examinations are an important (and often required) part of the hiring process. For employees falling under the strict requirements of the DOT, they are required in order for the employee – and the company to remain in compliance. For non-DOT employers, thorough physical exams are critical in order to ensure that the person you are hiring is able to safely perform the requirements of their job description.

NW Testing Drug Screens & Physicals offers DOT and non-DOT physical exams, including audiometric exams and Ishihara color-blindness screens.

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  • DOT Physicals (Medical Cards)
  • Workplace Physicals
  • Audiometric Evaluations
  • Ishihara Color-Blindness Screens

Meet Melissa Cosgrove, RN MSN NRCME FNP-C

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Melissa is a Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner specializing in Pre-Employment and DOT physicals. She is also certified as a Nationally Registered Certified Medical Examiner (NRCME) with FMCSA to ensure that your physical exam will be completed in accordance with DOT requirements.

NRCME #77399964249

DOT Physicals

A DOT physical exam is required when a driver is operating a commercial vehicle across state lines (also called “interstate driving”) meeting the following criteria:

  • Has a combined gross vehicle weight or weight rating of 10,001 lbs. or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 9-15 passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) regardless if for compensation
  • Transports hazardous materials in quantities that require placarding under the hazardous materials regulations

Intrastate drivers, or drivers that stay within one state, may also require a DOT physical depending on the regulations that are specific to their states.

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Who Conducts a DOT Physical?
DOT physicals can only be administered by an FMCSA certified medical provider. These are providers who have specific FMCSA training and are registered on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME). To find a DOT-certified provider near you, you can search the NRCME site.

How Often Does a DOT Physical Need to be Renewed?
Depending on the outcome of the physical, a certification can be valid for up to 24 months. However, if the medical provider determines that the driver has existing conditions that need to be monitored a driver may be certified for less than 24 months. Some common reasons for a shorter certification include but are not limited to, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea.

What You Should Expect During a DOT Physical Examination?
A DOT physical exam has many different components:

  • Medical History - During a DOT physical, the driver will need to provide his/her medical history, including past surgeries, medications taken, and history of health conditions. It is important to be honest when providing health history as there could be repercussions later on if the correct health history is not provided.
  • Vitals Testing - A large portion of the DOT physical is testing vitals. Testing includes pulse, height, weight, and blood pressure. The FMCSA also requires urinalysis, which looks at the protein, blood, and sugar in a urine sample to rule out underlying medical problems.
  • Vision Testing - In addition to more general testing, the FMSCA requires vision testing to ensure drivers are meeting the standard of at least 20/40 vision acuity in each eye with or without correction (glasses or contacts) and at least 70° field of vision in horizontal meridian measured in each eye (the area of visibility for each eye’s line of sight).
  • Hearing Testing - Hearing testing is another requirement that is needed to pass a DOT physical. This is often tested through a whisper test, a test in which the examiner will record the distance from the driver at which a forced whispered voice can be heard. Hearing can also be evaluated through an audiometry test. An audiometry test is a way to measure the ability to hear sounds at different frequencies to determine if the driver has experienced hearing loss.
  • Physical Examination - A physical examination is also required. The examiner will first evaluate general physical appearance for things such as obesity and other medical conditions, and then examine the various body systems, including skin, lungs, the neurological system, and more.
  • Drug Screen - Although it is not part of the DOT physical exam, the DOT also requires a drug screen which can usually be completed at the same time as the physical examination
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What You Can Do to Prepare for a DOT Physical at NW Testing Drug Screens & Physicals
Your DOT physical should take under 45 minutes. Before arriving for your DOT physical, gather the necessary information and documents to bring:

  • A valid driver’s license
  • NW Testing Drug Screens & Physicals Authorization Form (if you are being sent by your employer)
  • List of current medications
  • List of past surgeries and medical conditions
  • List of any allergies

In addition, if you have any pre-existing conditions that require additional paperwork, you should bring the necessary documentation. Examples of additional documentation include things like copies of medical exemptions for vision, hearing, or seizure disorders, as well as copies of A1C reports.

What to Expect After Your Physical Exam
Upon finishing your exam, the examiner will complete her assessment and complete the required physical paperwork. The provider can certify a driver for the full two-year period or chose a shorter time period if medically necessary. Some health conditions require routine annual monitoring while others may just need a shortened initial monitoring period while other testing is performed. A certification card will be provided to the driver at the conclusion of the visit. If the provider does not have enough information at the time of the exam, and approval isn’t possible, the exam may be suspended while the additional information is gathered.

Our examiner is certified to complete DOT physicals and is on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME). Schedule your DOT physical by calling us at 360-597-4543.

References
1 FMCSA: Medical Examination Report Form. Last updated September 30, 2018. Accessed May 16, 2021.

Workplace Physical Exams

A workplace physical exam may be required by employers needing to know if the employee they are about to hire (or move to a different position) is able to safely perform the duties of his/her job. Unlike a DOT physical, the components of a workplace physical may vary from one employer to the other. Depending on the nature of job, the exam may be a very general type of an exam or it may include more specific criteria. Workplace physicals are intended to assess an employee’s physical and mental abilities to handle the position that they are being hired to do.

Workplace physical exams include a physical ability test (also called a Human Performance Evaluation or HPE), which determines the employee’s ability to perform a particular task. This helps to determine the strength of specific muscle groups as well as to provide an overall assessment of the employee’s strength, stamina and flexibility.

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During the exam the employee may be asked to lift an amount of weight that would be a requirement of the job they are being hired to do. A workplace physical will also include an assessment of vision, hearing and grip strength as well as the ability to load and maneuver a hand-truck/dolly and perform aerobic exercise.

The examiner will also interview the employee to review his/her medical history, medications and other questions regarding their health history. The employee’s vital signs will be measured as well as their height and weight, pulse and blood pressure.

Audiometric Screens

If your company has implemented an occupational hearing conservation program (HCP) to help preserve and protect the hearing of their employees, NW Testing Drug Screens & Physicals provides audiometric hearing evaluations. Audiometric evaluations can help to detect hearing loss due to on-the-job exposure to sounds as well as other sources, that may otherwise go undetected.

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The detection and reporting of changes or shifts in hearing enable employers and workers to take steps to remediate exposure and to prevent permanent noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Prevention of NIHL has been shown to reduce the risk of workers compensation liabilities as well as to contain the costs associated with these types of claims. We are proud to offer audiometric evaluations conducted by our staff Certified Occupational Hearing Conservationist (COHC).

COHC Certification #493515