OBJECTIVE: To conduct an exploratory pilot study of pre-placement screening practice in Australia by examining the nature and use of pre-placement screenings in a sample of New South Wales (NSW) workplaces.
PARTICIPANTS: 29 of 279 employers (10.3%) invited using three sources: a public list of self-insured NSW companies, a regional chamber of commerce group and researcher's contacts. The majority of respondents (31%) belonged to government administration and education. Half of the workplaces employed more than 200 people.
METHODS: Employers completed an online survey from a link sent by email.
RESULTS: Sixteen (55%) of the companies had a formal process for conducting pre-placement screenings, that were conducted by a range of professionals using a variety of methods, with costs ranging from $80 to $350 (Aus). The majority of respondents (81%) reported that the pre-placement screenings included an assessment of the person's ability to perform the specific physical demands of the job, i.e. against the specified physical demands of the position. The majority of employers who completed screenings found them useful.
CONCLUSIONS: The findings, while from a small sample size, provide evidence that pre-placement screenings are being conducted in Australian workplaces by various professionals, using varying methods and are valued by employers.