The industrial physical examination is a tool which when correctly used is.an effective instrument for the proper placement of employees. Like all instruments, however, it has its limitations, and when improperly used may be ineffective or may even become a liability.
Workmen's compensation laws, holding employers responsible for the care of occupational injuries, chiefly were instrumental in the introduction of physical examinations in industry. This responsibility encouraged the attempt to weed out by examination all but the most physically fit workers, eliminating those with physical defects, who, it was thought, might have a higher accident frequency.
This method did not result in the desired lessening of industrial accidents; it was found that freedom from physical defect is not necessarily synonymous with freedom from accident proneness. Physical standards were placed so high in many instances, however, that workers physically substandard in some detail, yet perfectly capable of satisfactory employment in many
POOLE FE. INDUSTRIAL PHYSICAL EXAMINATIONSObjectives and Methods. JAMA. 1947;133(2):91–97. doi:10.1001/jama.1947.02880020017005
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