Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE)

A functional capacity evaluation (FCE) assesses an individual’s capacity to perform specified work activities related to their contracted employment.
Functional Capability Evaluation
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A Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) assesses an individual's capacity to perform specified work activities related to their job role and contracted employment.

Our robust assessment process delivers a reported comparison of the individual’s health status and physical MSK functions which is structured to the demands of the job and the work environment These types of assessment can be used pre-employment for a potential employee with physical difficulty, or to support a structured and restricted return to work following injury or ill MSK health.
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An employee who is experiencing difficulties or restrictions as a consequence of complex MSK conditions, or multiple functional and physical health issues can be supported in work or back to work.

The FCE assessment will identify exactly what elements of a job role can or cannot be completed and to what capacity. This is particularly important if an individual is returning to a very physically demanding role following surgery or injury for example, or where a chronic medical condition severely limits or inhibits functional capability.

Our FCE’s use detailed information about the specific tasks and activities required for the role and use bespoke testing appropriate to the demands of the job that consider shift duration, the weight of objects being lifted/moved, posture and the use of tools.


For the employer

Our FCE’s provide objective and pragmatic reporting that directly links to the physical demands of the specific job role and the individual’s capability to complete the required activities and tasks. This information can be used to guide any necessary adjustments, future planning, employment, or redeployment where appropriate.

For the manager

The FCE report delivers a clear definition of the functional capabilities of an employee by assessing their ability to work in a specific role and/or work setting. This information can be beneficial when making decisions around support and planning, so managers can have confidence that their decision making is fully supported by the extensive, evidence-based report.

For the employee

The FCE is a functional capacity test which aims to ensure that the role/workplace doesn’t cause injury or harm by identifying physical ability in the work setting. Employees are asked to complete tasks objectively in a secure, confidential, and simulated space which may be in the workplace or in our Physio Solutions clinic, guided and instructed by their qualified and fully competent assessor from beginning to end, and can therefore be completely confident that their outcomes are accurate and are a true reflection of actual capability.

FCE’s are a robust, scientific analysis of an individual’s physical capabilities following the collection and interpretation of a multitude of clinical outcome measures. The result is the provision of a comprehensive report that outlines task specific function within the working environment.

In current best evidence-based practice, as delivered by Physio solutions, an FCE consists of a standardised battery of tests. An assessment of fitness for work, where the tests and measures to be used are selected by the musculoskeletal (MSK) expert for their relevance to the person’s condition and job demands. This determines an evaluation of the capacity of activities used to make recommendations for participation in work while considering the person’s body functions and structures, environmental factors, personal factors, and health status. FCE’s are objective and therefore the clinical assessments and outcome measures provide an accurate and specific report.

These assessments prove very effective in cases where employers are concerned for an employee’s on-going or long-term debilitating physical condition which has, or may, restrict their working capabilities for a prolonged period.

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Functional Capacity Evaluation FAQs

A Functional Capacity Evaluation involves completing a series of tests that are specifically designed to match a comparative job role. This may involve heavy lifting or pushing or pulling, which would be measured in a graduated increment with heart rate monitors and pulse oximeters, if necessary and with specific safety guidelines in place, or may include fine dexterity work, such as handling and manipulating nuts and bolts, which are timed and/or counted. All the tests are designed to have a quantified outcome of capacity.
Depending on the nature of the job role or tasks that are being measured against, an FCE can take anything from 30 minutes to 8 hours to complete.
It is not possible to “fail” a Functional Capacity Evaluation. The assessment simply evaluates your capacity to perform specified tasks and match that capacity to the job role demands in question. It may be that you do not meet the demands of the job match criteria and we can offer potential solutions to this and/or rehabilitation to improve your capacity to perform those specified tasks.

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