September 22, 2023
Understanding the reasons why you might fail a pre-employment physical is crucial in ensuring that you pass the medical evaluations designed to assess your physical ability. This article discusses the various factors that could disqualify candidates from any job, such as physical requirements, drug and alcohol testing, poor medical history, poor vision, mental health issues, the inability to perform physical tasks and the risk of injury.


A pre-employment physical is a series of medical and physical fitness tests performed by a physician to assess a candidate’s ability to perform a job or task. The importance of passing a pre-employment physical cannot be overstated, as it determines not only job eligibility but also the safety of fellow employees and the candidate. In this article, we will explore various reasons why a candidate might fail a pre-employment physical.

Failure to Meet Physical Requirements of the Job

Some jobs require physical fitness that is beyond the abilities of some individuals. The physical requirements for these jobs may include lifting heavy loads, prolonged standing or sitting, pushing and pulling heavy objects, and repetitive motion. Various factors could affect a person’s physical fitness, including age, obesity, previous injuries, or medical conditions like heart disease, arthritis, and joint pain. Examples of jobs that require physical fitness include firefighting, construction, and law enforcement. To prepare for a physical requirement test, try to maintain a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise, a balanced diet plan, adequate hydration, and restful sleep.

Positive Drug or Alcohol Test

Many companies have “zero-tolerance” policies when it comes to drugs or alcohol. A positive drug or alcohol test may disqualify a job candidate from employment. Substance abuse can significantly affect job performance and risk the safety of others. In some cases, even prescribed medications that could affect job performance may be considered in drug testing. Before drug and alcohol tests, candidates need to ensure they are not using any drugs that could cause a positive test result.

Poor Medical History

In a pre-employment physical, a physician reviews a candidate’s medical history to detect any chronic illnesses, disabilities, or other health problems. If the physician determines that the candidate’s medical history may affect their job performance, they may not pass the physical. Usually, medical history issues could be managed to allow candidates to meet the job’s requirements, but honesty is crucial during the initial medical evaluation. Concealing a medical condition could lead to dismissal in the future and a tarnished medical record.

Inadequate Vision

Some jobs require perfect vision, such as aviation and transportation-related positions or jobs that require driving or operating machinery. Therefore, any impairment of visual acuity may disqualify a candidate from the job. To prepare for a vision test, have regular eye checks with your optician. If candidates already require glasses or contact lenses, ensure your prescription is up-to-date and accurately reflects your visual state.

Mental Health Issues

Some jobs require the ability to manage stress, think rationally, and handle mental stressors effectively. Undiagnosed or untreated mental health conditions may affect job performance; therefore, some employers require mental health assessments. For example, those seeking positions that require public safety, such as law enforcement, air traffic controllers, and the military, may need to undergo a psychological evaluation. Proper self-care, medication, counseling, and stress management techniques are recommended to address mental health issues and improve job prospects.

Inability to Perform Physical Tasks

Physical tasks are often a part of certain job requirements, and any inability to complete these tasks may lead to job disqualification. Some jobs require rigorous physical tasks that also require balance and coordination, such as construction or mining. To prepare for a physical task test, maintain regular exercise training and incorporate exercises that replicate the physical tasks required.

High-Risk of Injury

Some medical conditions or disabilities expose individuals to a higher risk of injury in the workplace. For example, someone with epilepsy or muscular dystrophy may not be able to partake in a job that requires rugged physical work or requires operating machinery. It’s important for the employer to be aware of potential underlying conditions and pay attention to safety in the workplace.


Pre-employment physical exams are a necessary part of the hiring process that ensures that the employee is physically able to perform the job requirements. Candidates who know they have limitations should consider seeking advice from medical professionals to determine accommodations for developing exercise or diet plans to achieve crucial fitness goals. It is essential to be truthful about one’s medical history and other issues to avoid any future dismissal due to concealing information. Employers care about the safety and health of their workforce; a healthy working environment is essential, so all necessary measures must be taken to uphold worker safety and health.

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