The purpose of preplacement medical examinations should be to determine an individual’s ability to perform the job. However, such examinations are generally not recommended unless there is a reason for using them to assess some specific occupational risks. Even if a routine preplacement medical examination is justified, low back X-rays and other imaging are not useful preplacement tests to undertake because they have not been found to predict future injuries. These tests also result in unnecessary radiation exposure and age-related, asymptomatic, clinically unimportant findings may trigger further imaging evaluation and/or patient anxiety.
- Gibson ES, Martin RH, Terry CW. Incidence of low back pain and pre-placement x-ray screening. J Occup Med 1980; 22(8):515-9.
- Schaafsma FG, Mahmud N, Reneman MF, et al. Pre-employment examinations for preventing injury, disease and sick leave in workers. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2016; 1: CD008881.