Physical Work Capacity and Functional Capacity Evaluation System

Evaluates a person’s capacity fr physically demanding work.


The two components of the PWCFC Evaluation System are the Physical Work Capacity (PWC) and the Functional Capacity (FC).

The Physical Work Capacity component evaluates the capacity of an individual to perform physically demanding work tasks. System input includes the physical ability test results and demographic data. Output is a computer generated report that assesses the Physical Work Capacity. The report helps employers make either of two employment decisions, which are:

• Pre-employment: The PWC report evaluates the capacity of a job applicant to perform physically demanding work tasks.

• Return-to-Work: The FC report evaluates the capacity of an employee to perform physically demanding tasks at a level that allows for the safe return to work.

Data used to develop the Physical Work Capacity evaluation comes from 20 years of pre-employment research completed at the University of Houston. The purpose of this research was to validate pre-employment tests and define physiologically justified standards or accurate scores. The ergonomic principle is to match the worker to the demands of the job. This validation research is the linkage between test results and job tasks.

The Functional Capacity component assesses Work Capacity and physical fitness. The fitness components include maximum aerobic capacity (VO2max), body composition, and flexibility. These are the common components included in adult fitness test batteries (Baumgartner & Jackson, 1999; Golding, Meyers & Sinning, 1989).

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