By Jamie Swedberg
Stamford Tent & Event Services, Stamford, Conn., sends prospective employees to a physical therapy firm for a Human Performance Evaluation (HPE) test. The test ensures that new hires are physically fit enough for the job, and it helps keep insurance premiums down. The test is tailored to tent installation, says vice president and co-owner Tim Frost.
“They try to replicate what lacing a tent would be like, or assembling a frame or loading boxes onto a truck,” he says. “There’s reaching, kneeling, stepping.”
Armed with this knowledge, the physical therapy consultant conducts free injury prevention training sessions for the company emphasizing core strength work to reduce incidences of shoulder and back strains. The training is valuable in and of itself, but it also gives the health care provider an intimate view of the tent installation business. If employees do become injured, medical professionals are better able to make recommendations that can keep workers on the job.
“If someone strains a shoulder, they’ll give them a 20-pound weight restriction or a 50-pound weight restriction,” Frost says. “They’ll put them on 10 percent or 20 percent. So they’re not going to rot at home; they’re going to come here and work in the paint shop, work in the frame shop or work in our parts department.”