"We have had great success with the PEFS process over the past 4 years. PACE have helped us shape an improved recruiting process. Furthermore PACE have assisted in reducing our injury management costs through various injury management and work conditioning programs. Our most recent insurance premium dropped 43%."  

- Senior H&S Officer, Municipal Council

Pre-Employment Functional Screening (PEFS)

Pre-employment Functional Screenings (PEFS) are an essential tool for any organisation wanting a profile of a potential workers physical capabilities, health and well-being. A PEFS effectively determines an individual’s functional capabilities and limitations in relation to a specific job. 

Why chose our PEFS for your important recruitment process?

Specificity - we test the specific, physiological capacity of applicants in relation to the physiological demands listed in the physical demands list provided by the organisation for that position or in reference to those outlined in the US Dictionary of Jobs if this information is not provided.

For example - if an applicant is required to dig we ask them to dig and analyse their ability to dig at a specified rate whilst analysing whether they can do so with a safe heart rate, manual handling technique and without pain.

Many pre employment screenings are simply fitness tests and do not specifically measure and assess the demands of the position. This leads to poor reliability and validity of results. 

As a result excellent job applicants may fail these screenings when in fact they are physically capable of meeting the specific demands of the position. What a waste of resources and opportunity to recruit the best possible candidate!

What sets PACE apart?

Standardised protocols

We use standardised protocols to ensure the reliability, safety and validity of testing. Test specifics such as speed, distance, rest periods, heart rates, manual handling technique, posture, pain, effort are all monitored and analysed to provide an analysis of safe capacity.

Triangulation of data

By taking objective (heart rate) subjective (pain, effort) and clinical measures (manual handling, posture) we use multiple data sources to obtain a result.

Risk stratification / foreseeable risk 

Our clinicians provide a clinical opinion and rating of the foreseeable risk of injury or ill health in the workplace in the next two years. So not only do we provide comment on what the applicant can safely do now but also future risk based on health history and measures, and test results.


We see our role as not only to measure current capacity but also to use the assessment to educate the applicant regarding manual handling, ergonomics, posture, National Physical Activity Guidelines, healthy eating, core stability and workplace injury prevention strategies such as stretching and micro breaks. Therefore reducing successful applicants risk of injury in the workplace.

An Exercise Physiology & Allied health approach

AEP’s have completed a five year university course at post graduate level. We specialise in analysing and measuring biomechanics, physiology and movement and then prescribing and educating clients with specific exercise, lifestyle and health programs. We are recognised by Work Cover, Medicare, DVA and TAC to deliver these programs.

A large experienced team

PACE has twice been awarded National EP Practice of the Year by our governing body ESSA. Our team of 25 AEP's (many with further studies in Capacity measurement) have been delivering and refining our PEFS protocols over 5 years. Each year our clinical review team assesses, modifies and further develops our tools to ensure we deliver best practice screenings.

Our Pre-Employment Functional Screenings (PEFS) provide you with the right applicants who leave equipped with specific applied knowledge in the areas of manual handling, ergonomics, core stability and injury prevention strategies to reduce their long-term injury risk.

Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE)

What information does a Functional Capacity Evaluation provide to your organisation?

A Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) provides a capacity profile of an individual’s functional capabilities and limitations. It is utilised by referring agents to determine correlate current measured capacity with the demands of suitable alternate vocational options, a return to their current or previous option or as a measure of rehabilitation progression.

PACE uses Workhab International Protocols and software  to complete all Functional Capacity Evaluations. Workhab International has been a recognised industry leader in this field for the past 10 years.

PACE uses Workhab International Protocols and software  to complete all Functional Capacity Evaluations. Workhab International has been a recognised industry leader in this field for the past 10 years.

What are the benefits of the Functional Capacity Evaluation to your organisation?

  • Provides information to determine selected or modified duties for injured workers
  • Identifies potential medical and musculoskeletal conditions which may increase risk of workplace injury if the worker is assigned to a different workplace task.
  • Reduces “risk’ of possible future claims for workers who assigned duties that they are not physically capable of.
  • Reduced insurance premiums and length of claims as workers are returned to work on the basis of the objective information gained in the FCE
  • Provides information which assists in determining the programs/support required for a return to work/rehabilitation plan e.g. work conditioning program, psychological intervention, counselling etc.
  • Sets out time frames and parameters for return to work
  • Assists in grading activities to eventually return to full unrestricted duties
  • Is used as an educative process in regard to manual handling/movement techniques to reduce risk of further injury
  • Track changes to functional capacity as a result of Work Conditioning Programs

What is measured in a Functional Capacity Evaluation?

  • Full review of medical and musculo-skeletal history and any reports supplied
  • Full range of motion and musculo-skeletal diagnostic screening tests
  • Health and lifestyle behaviour measures – i.e. physical activity, sleep, nutrition
  • Anthropometric and health measures i.e waist girths, blood pressure
  • Safe maximal lift (floor to waist, waist to overhead)
  • Safe endurance Lift
  • Safe bilateral carry
  • Safe endurance carry
  • Maximal push/pull
  • Endurance push/pull
  • Sustained postures = standing, sitting, crawling, kneeling, reaching forward, reaching overhead, stooping, squatting
  • 6 minute walk
  • Climbing – ladders/stairs
  • Gripping and pinching
  • Job simulation tasks – i.e. digging, sweeping

What is monitored in an FCE?

Heart rate response is measured every 30 seconds throughout testing, tests are ceased if the heart rate exceeds 85% of the individuals theoretical maximum heart rate.

Prior to each test the heart rate is to return to a baseline measure, this allows the assessor to record the Beats Above Baseline Index for each test and therefore tests and data can be compared throughout the evaluation period. So, that higher heart rates indicate increased effort rather than reduced rest periods between testing.

Ratings of Perceived Exertion  - are correlated with heart rate recordings to ensure consistencies or identify inconsistencies between these measures.
Pain ratings -  taken at the start of the evaluation, post each test and 24 hours post assessment to determine not only what the individual has the capacity to do but, what impact this has on him/her the following day.

As an example the individual is monitored to determine what they can do with safe manual handling, they are not allowed to continue a test if their manual handling is unsafe which provides a reliable reading of safe capacity, rather than simply capacity.

The WorkHab FCE is an internationally recognised evaluation tool that enables a licensed evaluator to objectively measure, determine and report on the functional abilities of an individual in both the home and work environment.  The system is predominately used to determine an individual’s safe and objective physical capabilities, establish and monitor rehabilitation goals, and to aid in return to work facilitation. It is also commonly used as a medico-legal tool and for disability assessments for the purposes of payment/insurance determination.

By providing a comprehensive range of activities to test, an FCE is able to provide a full profile of the client’s abilities.  These include work fitness, agility, body awareness, effect of pain, loads, upper and lower body abilities, perception of effort, heart rate, movement techniques, and the interaction of these parameters across a broad range of activities.
The evaluation protocols within WorkHab’s FCE System have been validated in peer reviewed literature.  The entire protocol has been independently tested with the worker population and has been shown as significantly reliable.  Validity is mandatory in order to maintain reliability.

Specific Function Test (SFT)

Our Specific Function Testing (SFT) uses the Workhab protocols to measure and analyse the applicants capacity to meet specific demands of a role as well as incorporating specific tests and in depth discussion to assess and analyse the functional or injury status of the worker. 

The SFT provides measurement and more in depth analysis (when compared to a PEFS) of the capacity and injury status of a worker - when returning to a specific role.

To refer to these specialist services please contact us.