To minimize the risk that a new hire will end up succumbing to an on-the-job injury or occupational illness, many employers choose to order a pre-hiring physical as a prerequisite to employment. On the one hand, pre-employment physicals may make things difficult for some individuals who end up being disqualified, but on the other hand, they serve to keep long term costs down for everyone by helping to keep the premiums for workers' compensation and health insurance at a minimum. Further, they are also in the best interests of the prospective employee, as they are largely intended to determine whether or not the individual is likely to suffer a serious injury in the course of performing routine job duties. Some employers may also require drug and alcohol testing to safeguard themselves against hiring someone with a substance abuse addiction that is likely to lead to absenteeism, costly mistakes, and possible legal complications.
A pre-employment physical examination may be tailored to meet the requirements of the specific employment position, but there are certain things you can normally expect. Some of the basics include blood pressure, the respiratory system, and heart rate, as well as an examination of the eyes, ears, nose, throat, the skin and lymph nodes. Given that many such examinations are used to screen applicants for positions that require physical exertion, the checkup may also include an examination of the musculoskeletal system to find any structural weaknesses or pre-existing injuries.