1. #1
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Norfolk, Virginia

    Default Fit for Duty (?)

    We had an in-depth discussion at our Monday morning staff meeting on this topic.

    Should we, as a department, do blood pressure checks of the oncoming crew at the stations? That is, should the station officer have a morning B/P assessment of all members assigned to his/her house for the day?

    Is this an "invasion" of privacy to the individual? If their B/P was outside of a pre-established acceptable range, they would be sent to the Department's physician for further evaluation. Does your department do this sort of pre-shift screening?

    Our department is very proactive with annual medical physicals and fitness assessments. Some members believe if they meet the minimum requirements at their yearly medical screening, then the department does not have the right to screen them for hypertension before every shift.

    I would like to hear from any department that does this sort of pre-shift screening and if so, did they have it cleared throught he legal channels. Thanks...

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    DaSharkie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2000


    I think you are going to have to prove a period of several months where the BP is elevated. There are too many factors that come into play when you check a person's BP after they come in to work. Did they have a fight with the wife, have a bad commute because people forgot how to drive that day, or they have to work OT with someone they can't stand.

    I think this is also going to have to be negotiated with the local simply because if it is a requirement of the job, it becomes a change in working conditions unless you grandfather people into it.

    Also, invasion of privacy, as I am sure that you are aware, is a very tricky legal minefield and gets into a legal decision establishing whether it qualifies or not.

    Make enrollment in the program voluntary and if guys want to know how healthy they are then it gives them a good way to continuously be evaluated. Guys may be more interested if the checks were the first day on only instead of every shift you work.
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  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    No. Providence R.I. : Land of the "How ya doins"


    I'd have to agree with da Sharkie that you would have to clear hurdles before this could be done. It probably be catagorized as
    invasion of privacy if it were done involuntarily. To the guys that are already on the job they could be "grandfathered" in with regard to any initiatives taken to improve physical fitness or health monitoring. I am sure that there are "walking codes" in most of the fire houses in this country. These are the guys that are overweight, smoke, and eat everything but the grease in the pan. They have to be motivated. In my dept. most of the older guys could care less and laugh at the newer guys that are into PT . But if you look at who gets injured the most, it is almost a 3:1 ratio. Just coincidence? To force guys to submit to these programs after the fact is like p***ing into the wind. They will find any loophole to get out of it. The dept. should develop programs for the new recruits coming in so they have PT in mind throughout their career and implement a monitoring program (which fireman says happens). My dept. doesn't even give us yearly physicals let alone any programs to go on at least you are getting that. To answer the question, I don't know of any dept. that does pre shift screening, too many variables as Sharkie said, that could make this ineffective.

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