|BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION
HUMAN RESOURCES, DIVERSITY AND EEO
PERSONNEL LETTER NO. 339-1 (Revised) Date: September 5, 2003
SUBJECT: Medical Evaluation of Employees and Applicants
PURPOSE OF ISSUANCE:
This Personnel Letter outlines the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) policy on medical evaluation of employees and applicants and describes the relationships and responsibilities of various jobs/positions involved in administration of medical evaluation programs in the Bonneville Power Administration.
PURPOSE OF REVISION
To update nomenclature and combine Personnel Letter 339-1, Medical Qualification Requirements, and Personnel Letter 339-7, Medical Evaluation of Employees and Applicants, into one document. This Personnel Letter supersedes Personnel Letter No. 339-1, dated April 20, 2001, and Personnel Letter No. 339-7, dated June 22, 2001.
A. 5 CFR, Section 293, Personnel Records
B. 5 CFR, Section 297, General Provisions
C. 5 CFR 339, Medical Qualification Determinations
D. 5 CFR 432, Performance Based Reduction in Grade and Removal Actions
E. 5 CFR 752, Adverse Actions
F. 5 CFR 831, Subpart L, Disability Retirement (CSRS)
G. 5 CFR 844, Federal Employee’s Retirement System – Disability Retirement
H. Title 5, United States Code (USC) Section 2302, Prohibited Personnel Practices
Title 29, CFR 1614, Subpart G, Prohibition Against Discrimination Because of a physical or Mental Handicap
20 CFR Part 10, Claims for Compensation Under the Federal Employee’s Compensation Act
Executive Order 13164
Rehabilitation Act of 1973
The Americans with Disabilities Act
EEOC Enforcement Guidance
O. Personnel Letter 293-2, Occupational Medical Records
P. Personnel Letter 339-2, Medical Evaluation Protocols
Personnel Letter 339-5, Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens and
Other Potentially Infectious Material
R. Personnel Letter 339-6, Lyme Disease Monitoring Program
S. Personnel Letter 792-2, Employee Occupational Medical Program
T. Personnel Letter 810-1, Injury Compensation and Occupational Disease Program
Personnel Letter 900-2, Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) Reasonable Accommodation Plan
BPA Management Assistance Services (MAS) Handbook
W. Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986
X. 49 CFR Part 383, Commercial Driver License Standards
It is the policy of BPA to ensure that employees are physically capable of performing their assigned duties. The provisions of this Personnel Letter that relate to employee wellness and safety describe how that commitment is met by BPA. Among other things, employees and applicants may be required to undergo medical evaluations because of the existence of medical standards or physical requirements for the job/position they encumber or because of the possibility that they may be exposed to potentially dangerous materials. It is expected that this commitment to employee wellness will minimize situations that result in Office of Workers Compensation Programs (OWCP) claims, disability retirements, and other indicators of employee impairment.
It is the policy of BPA that all individuals with responsibilities under the provisions of this issuance maintain absolute confidentiality on all issues related to the medical condition of employees and applicants, consistent with the provisions of this issuance and Personnel Letter 293-2.
Unless authorized by this Personnel Letter or specific authorization of the Manager, Personnel Services, medical evaluations may not be directed or offered.
A. Applicant. For the purpose of this Personnel Letter, an applicant is an individual who is applying for a job/position that has established medical standards and/or physical requirements or is covered by a medical surveillance program.
B. Jobs/Positions Which are Arduous or Have an Associated Hazard. Jobs/Positions that have a degree of risk for personal injury, illness, and/or are physically demanding to such a degree that an incumbent’s medical condition is necessarily an important consideration in determining his/her ability to perform the duties of the job/position safely and efficiently. (Examples include working with moving machinery, with hazardous substances, at heights, driving, carrying heavy loads, strenuous physical activity, etc.)
C. Medical Condition. A health impairment that results from injury or disease, including psychiatric diseases.
D. Medical Documentation or Documentation of a Medical Condition. A statement from a licensed physician or other appropriate practitioner, which provides information the BPA considers necessary to enable it to make an employment decision. Standards for medical documentation are contained in 5 CFR Part 339, Medical Qualification Determinations, and Personnel Letter 339-2, Medical Evaluation Protocols.
E. Medical Evaluation Program. A program of recurring medical examinations or tests, established by written policy or directive, to monitor and safeguard the health of employees whose work may subject them or others to significant health or safety risks due to occupational or environmental exposure or demands.
Medical Standard. A written description of the medical requirements of a particular occupation based on a determination that a certain level of fitness or health status is required for successful performance.
Medical Surveillance Program. A specific type of medical evaluation program, consisting of recurring medical examinations or tests, for employees in positions that require them to work with potentially dangerous materials.
H. Physical Requirement. A written description of job-related physical abilities that are normally considered essential for successful performance of a specific job/position.
I. Qualified Disabled Person. A disabled person who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job/position in question without endangering the health and safety of himself/herself or others, and who is otherwise qualified for the job/position.
J. Reasonable Accommodation. Reasonable accommodation as described in Title 29, CFR 1614, Subpart G, Prohibition Against Discrimination Because of a Physical or Mental Handicap, may include: making facilities readily accessible to and usable by qualified disabled persons; job/position restructuring; part-time or modified work schedules; acquisition or modification of equipment or devices; appropriate adjustment or modification of examinations; the provision of readers or interpreters; and for current employees, as a last resort, reassignment into another job/position; and/or similar actions.
The following positions have specific responsibilities for the administration of components of the medical evaluation program. In some cases, responsibility may be jointly held and may be listed under more than one position.
A. The Manager, Personnel Services, is responsible, through Personnel Services staff, for:
Identifying jobs/positions covered by all medical evaluation programs, recommending medical standards, approving physical requirements, establishing and administering medical surveillance programs, and approving programs designed to demonstrate employees’ ability to perform job/position functions. These tasks are accomplished through consultation, as appropriate, with the Medical Program Manager, the Medical Officer, and the Safety Office.
Approving all waivers granted under the provisions of this Personnel Letter.
Offering, directing, and scheduling medical evaluations in accordance with the provisions of this issuance.
Providing advice to employees and supervisors about the provisions of this issuance Personnel Letter, as well as advice on accommodation processes.
Ensuring that employees who are covered by mandatory evaluation programs are cognizant of that fact.
The Manager, Human Resources, Diversity, and EEO is responsible for establishing BPA policy regarding medical evaluation of employees and applicants.
Supervisors of a job/position are responsible for:
Recommending the need for medical standards or physical requirements for the position and/or the need to include the job/position in the medical surveillance program.
Ensuring that employees are informed about the various medical evaluation programs (e.g., Medical Surveillance, FAA exams, DOT exams, etc.) that apply to them, ensuring the employees comply with the provisions of this issuance, and making time available for employees to obtain required exams.
Identifying accommodations when necessary.
Assessing employee’s performance and, if medical reasons are identified as a potential cause of substandard performance (or misconduct or inappropriate behavior), informing Personnel Services and working with that staff to identify reasonable accommodations, if appropriate.
Recommending, to appropriate Personnel Services staff for approval, instances in which a medical evaluation should be directed or offered to an employee.
Employees and Applicants are responsible for:
Complying with the provisions of this issuance, including demonstrating that they are able to meet the medical and physical requirements of the job/position for which they are applying or to which they have been appointed.
Providing medical documentation to support that a medical condition exists, when health status becomes a potential issue that may impact his/her performance or conduct.
Requesting accommodations, if necessary.
Providing relevant medical information to support a request for a specific duty station, working conditions, or other benefit.
Cooperating with BPA in the administration of the medical evaluation programs and to report situations to their supervisors, which might cause their job/position to be covered by a mandatory medical evaluation program or the medical surveillance program.
Medical Program Manager (MPM) is responsible for:
Providing day-to-day administration of the medical evaluation program, including the medical surveillance program.
Reviewing all requests to establish medical standards and/or physical requirements for jobs/positions.
Reviewing all requests to include jobs/positions in the medical surveillance and medical evaluation programs.
Reviewing all medical reports submitted by physicians or practitioners as part of the medical evaluation and surveillance programs.
Reviewing the program to make sure it is functioning properly (e.g., that redundancy of medical procedures has been curtailed; that services are being procured at the most reasonable cost/quality; and, that medical issues which have impact on the BPA workforce have been identified and are being addressed).
Providing technical guidance to Personnel Services staff.
B.Medical Officer is responsible for:
Serving as overseer, technical resource, and medical consultant to the program and to all levels of BPA management.
Communicating with providers of medical service throughout the BPA-system.
Reviewing on-the-job injury/illness experience, on a continuing basis, to identify trends in occupational hazards on which to advise appropriate medically related prevention measures.
Reviewing medical reports submitted by physicians and other health care providers as a means to evaluate and when appropriate, make recommendations regarding employee health.
Evaluating effectiveness of mandatory medical surveillance monitoring procedures.
VII. PROGRAM COMPONENTS
BPA provides a broad range of medical programs to its employees under the broad umbrella of Medical Evaluation Programs. Specific programs are identified below:
Mandatory Medical Evaluation Programs for Employees in Jobs/Positions with Established Physical Requirements and/or Medical Standards: Employees in such jobs/positions are required to have pre-employment, change-of-job/position, and exit physical examinations. In addition, depending on their occupation and duties, some employees are required to undergo periodic physical examinations during their employment (e.g., Federal Aviation Administration exams, Department of Transportation exams, etc.). Employees will use BPA-designated medical clinics for physical examinations. See Attachment A for a list of covered jobs/positions.
Medical Evaluations as Part of the Pre-placement Examination Process.
a. OPM may deny a preference eligible applicant examination or appointment if the preference eligible is physically or mentally unfit for the job/position for which he/she has applied, or to which he/she has been appointed.
b. BPA is authorized to examine applicants for all jobs/positions for Civil Service examinations or appointments, except Senior Executive Service positions. BPA must require a selectee (including selectees for temporary appointments) to report for a medical evaluation if the job/position has established physical and/or medical requirements, medical standards, or is covered by a medical surveillance program. Such an evaluation must occur prior to appointment, including re-employment on the basis of full or partial recovery from a medical condition. All selections are considered tentative until the applicant has successfully passed the required medical exams. The purpose of the evaluation is to determine if the selectee (1) can meet the physical requirements or medical standards of the job/position and/or (2) establish a base level of medical information for the medical surveillance program. An applicant’s refusal to be evaluated when there are medical standards or physical requirements for a job/position results in a determination that the individual is not qualified for the job/position.
c. Personnel Services makes arrangements for all pre-employment medical examinations. The applicant must be provided with a Standard Form 93, Report of Medical History, and asked to complete it prior to the examination. This permits the examining physician to have a better understanding of the applicant’s work history and medical history, which may have a bearing on his/her ability to perform the duties of the occupation for which he/she is being examined. The examining physician is also given a copy of the job standard or position description to assure an understanding of the job requirements of the position.
d. An applicant or employee may not be disqualified for a job/position solely on the basis of medical history. This rule applies to all jobs/positions including those with medical standards, physical requirements, or subject to medical surveillance programs. A history of a particular medical problem may result in medical disqualification only (1) if the condition at issue is itself disqualifying, (2) recurrence cannot medically be ruled out, and, (3) the duties of the job/position are such that a recurrence would pose a reasonable probability of substantial harm to the employee or others. Similarly, employment may not be denied to a applicant who has a medical condition which does not prevent safe and efficient performance solely on the basis that at some future time the employee’s condition may become aggravated and the employee may file a claim for workers’ compensation.
e. BPA may not make a pre-employment inquiry of an applicant about whether the applicant is a disabled person or about the nature or severity of the disability. However, nothing in this Personnel Letter shall be construed to prohibit the gathering of pre-employment medical information for the purpose of special appointing authorities for disabled persons or for affirmative action purposes; the gathering of such information must comply with Title 29, CFR 1614, Subpart G, Prohibition Against Discrimination Because of Physical or Mental Handicap.
f. Veterans with a 30 percent or more disability are granted, by law, the right to notification, opportunity to respond, and a final review of determination by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), when:
(1) Removed from an OPM Certificate on medical grounds;
(2) Passed over on an OPM Certificate; or
(3) Deemed ineligible for retention in a job/position during a reduction-in-force due to physical inability.
g. Routine pre-appointment medical evaluations are not authorized for jobs/positions that are not covered by specific medical standards, physical requirements, or a medical surveillance program. Since the duties of these jobs/positions are typically sedentary or only moderately active, candidates need only meet the general medical qualification standard in Qualification Standards for General Schedule Positions (formerly X-118) and X-118C Job Qualification Systems for Trade and Labor Occupations which provide that applicants must be physically and mentally able to efficiently perform the essential functions of a job/position, with or without reasonable accommodation, without hazard to themselves or others. The individual is presumed to be medically qualified in the absence of evidence to the contrary.
Medical Evaluation Due to a Change of Job/Position Examination Process
a. Employees who change jobs/positions, from a job/position covered by a medical standard, physical requirement, and/or medical surveillance program to a job/position covered by a different medical standard, physical requirement, and/or medical surveillance program (e.g. electrician to lineman) shall have their health status and physical fitness reviewed by the BPA Medical Officer with emphasis on the effects of the job/position vacated; and have their health status and physical fitness reviewed in relation to the health and physical factors that relate to the new job/position’s job tasks and demands.
b. An employee who changes from a job/position covered by a medical standard, physical requirement, and/or medical surveillance program to a job/position which is not covered by any of the three (this includes any case where the employee is leaving BPA) shall have his/her health status and physical fitness reviewed with emphasis on the effects of the job/position vacated.
c. An employee who changes from a job/position which is not covered by medical standards, physical requirements, and/or medical surveillance program to one which is covered, shall have his/her health and fitness reviewed by the BPA Medical Officer, in relation to the health and fitness factors of the new job/position.
Exit Medical Evaluations.
Employees who encumber jobs/positions covered by physical requirements, medical standards, or the medical surveillance program are required to undergo a medical evaluation immediately prior to their separation from the Federal service or their transfer out of BPA. The medical evaluation will consist of all the tests and procedures that are required for the job/position at the time the employee separates/transfers.
4. Medical Evaluations as Part of Ongoing Employee Retention.
a. An employee may be required to report for a medical evaluation when his/her job/position has an established physical/medical qualification standard. When ordering a medical evaluation, or requesting medical documentation, the employee must be informed in writing of (1) the reasons for the exam, (2) the consequences of failure to report for the examination, or failure to provide medical documentation, (3) the individual’s right to submit medical documentation from his or her own physician or practitioner, and (4) BPA’s obligation to consider this information. If the evaluation will be one of a series of periodic evaluations, the employee or applicant need be notified only once regarding the required series of evaluations, provided the notice is issued prior to the first required evaluation. The employee’s refusal to be evaluated, after being directed to undergo an evaluation, is grounds for appropriate disciplinary action.
b. Periodic physical examinations are required for:
(1) Employees occupying positions that are included in BPA’s Medical Surveillance Program (see VII.B.).
(2) Employees whose positions require them to have a first- or second-class airman medical certificate under the guidelines set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
(3) Employees whose jobs/positions require them to carry a Commercial Drivers License (CDL). See Section XI.B. for related information regarding retention standards for such employees.
c. The requirements for FAA and CDL exam are typically addressed in job standards, which serve as the mechanism for informing employees of such required exams.
Medical Evaluation as Part of an Ongoing Medical Surveillance Program: The Medical Surveillance program involves the mandatory testing of personnel identified for inclusion in the program. The program covers an employee if his/her job/position is identified as one that requires the employees to work with potentially dangerous materials. See Personnel Letter 339-3, Medical Surveillance Program, for the specifics of this program and a list of covered jobs/positions.
1. An employee may be required to report for a medical evaluation when the employee is covered by an established program of medical surveillance related to potential occupational or environmental exposure or demands, including working with potentially dangerous materials. A medical evaluation under this section may occur on a regularly recurring or periodic basis.
2. A medical surveillance program differs from a medical standard or physical requirement in that its purpose is to assess the effect of the job/position on the health status of the employee or others. By contrast, a medical standard or physical requirement is appropriate when the focus is on determining an applicant or employee’s continuing ability to perform a job. Thus, including the job/position in a medical surveillance program does not necessarily suggest a medical standard or physical requirement for the job(s) is necessary. However, employment decisions based on the findings of a medical surveillance program must be job-related and are subject to other program requirements (e.g., OSHA, reasonable accommodation).
3. If the supervisor of a job/position, or other individual with interest in the job/position, believes that the job/position should be covered by a medical surveillance program, he/she should discuss the issue with the Medical Program Manager. A decision on the matter will only be made by the Manager, Personnel Services, in consultation with the Safety Manager, BPA Medical Officer, Medical Program Manager, and the appropriate supervisor/manager as outlined in Personnel Letter 339-3, Medical Surveillance Program.
Other Medical Evaluations that Management May Require. Medical evaluations may also be conducted in support of other programs or situations as described below.
1. Medical Evaluations as Part of Office of Workers Compensation Program (OWCP) Reviews
a. BPA may require that an employee who has applied for, or is receiving, continuation of pay or compensation as a result of an on-the-job injury or disease, to report for an examination to determine medical/physical limitations that may affect placement decisions. This action can be taken when there is reason to believe that an employee can perform, consistent with any limitations related to his/her medical/physical condition, the duties of an assignment or job/position (including the employee’s regular job/position). If the medical evaluation indicates that the employee is capable of performing the duties, Personnel Services will work with OWCP to promptly return the employee to duty-and-pay status (to either full or limited duties) or from limited duty to regular duty, as appropriate. Such an evaluation is not a substitute for medical evaluations provided for under Title 5, USC Chapter 81, Compensation for Work Injuries, and implementing Department of Labor regulations. Evaluations under Title 5, USC Chapter 81, are conducted to determine whether compensation should be paid or terminated. Responsibility for such evaluations rests with the Department of Labor.
b. The provisions of this Personnel Letter do not affect the procedures and responsibilities outlined in Personnel Letter 810-1, Injury Compensation and Occupational Disease Program. Employees who are injured on the job or feel they have a job-related illness should review that Personnel Letter and contact their personnel services staff for guidance on medical examinations conducted in relation to injury/illness.
c. If the employee is receiving or has applied for injury compensation, including continuation of pay, a copy of all related medical reports or evaluations will be forwarded to OWCP through Personnel Services.
Whenever there is a direct question about an employee’s continued capacity to meet the physical requirements and/or medical standards of his/her job/position, the employee may be ordered to undergo a medical evaluation. (Employees who do not occupy jobs/positions with physical and/or medical requirements may be offered, but not directed to receive, a medical evaluation when additional medical documentation is needed to make an informed management decision.) The supervisor works directly with Personnel Services and/or Employee Relations (see the Management Assistance Services Handbook).
Medical Evaluation as Part of a Reduction-in-Force (RIF) Action.
Personnel Services may require an employee, who is reached for release from his/her competitive level in a RIF, to undergo a medical evaluation under either of the following conditions:
a. The job/position to which the employee has assignment rights has established physical requirements or is covered by a medical surveillance program or medical standards.
b. The required physical requirements, medical standards, or surveillance program guidelines are different from those required in the employee’s present job/position. A new medical evaluation is not required if the physical requirement or medical standards are “less” (e.g., requirement to lift 10 pounds versus a requirement to lift 50 pounds) than the employee’s present job/position.
4. Psychiatric/Psychological Evaluation
a. A psychiatric/psychological evaluation may be ordered in only two types of situations:
(1) When the medical standards of a job/position or the medical surveillance program which applies to a position specifically requires such an evaluation, or
(2) When the result of a current general medical examination which BPA has the authority to order under 5 CFR 339.301, Authority to Require an Examination, indicates no physical explanation for behavior or actions which may affect the safe and efficient performance of the individual or others.
b. A psychiatric evaluation or psychological assessment authorized under these procedures must be conducted in accordance with accepted professional standards, by a licensed practitioner or physician authorized to conduct such evaluations. The evaluation may only be used to make a legitimate inquiry into an employee’s (and in rare cases, an applicant’s) mental ability to successfully perform the duties of his or her job/position, with undue hazard to himself/herself or others.
c. Management (in coordination with Personnel Services) may, at its option, offer a psychiatric/psychological evaluation in any situation where BPA needs additional medical documentation to make an informed management decision, in accordance with instructions in VII.A.4, Medical Evaluation As Part of Ongoing Employee Retention, and VII.D.1, Agency Offered Medical Evaluation.
Medical Evaluations That Management May Offer to Employees.
1. Personnel Services, working with the employee’s supervisor, may offer a medical evaluation, including a psychiatric/psychological evaluation, or ask the employee to submit medical documentation in any situation where additional medical documentation is required to make an informed management decision. Those situations include:
a. When an employee makes a request, for medical reasons, for a change in duty status, assignment, or working condition.
b. When the employee makes a request for any other benefit or special treatment (including reasonable accommodation or re-employment on the basis of full or partial recovery from a medical condition).
c. When the employee has a conduct or performance problem that may require action by management. (Alternately, the burden can be placed on the employee to furnish medical documentation, at his/her expense, if he/she wishes such information to be considered in connection with a performance-based or conduct-based action. The medical evidence can be required within a reasonable time communicated by management. After reviewing medical evidence volunteered by the employee, the employee’s supervisor, in consultation with Personnel Services, may choose to offer a further medical evaluation to obtain more definitive information.)
2. The evaluation may be offered following the receipt and review of medical information provided and paid for by the employee, and when the request cannot be acted upon without further medical information. Any offer of a medical examination must be made in writing and will be paid for by BPA. If the employee refuses to submit to a medical evaluation, BPA must act on the information that is available.
3. Disability Retirement. BPA does not have the authority to offer or direct a medical evaluation for the purpose of establishing an employee’s eligibility for disability retirement. If the employee is eligible for disability retirement, Personnel Services will provide him/her with information concerning disability retirement rules and procedures.
ESTABLISHMENT OF MEDICAL STANDARDS AND PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS
A. Medical Standards:
1. Role of Office of Personnel Management (OPM). OPM may establish or approve medical standards for a government-wide occupation.
2. Role of Department of Energy (DOE). DOE may establish medical standards for job/positions when it has 50 percent or more of all Federal jobs/positions in the occupation.
3. Role of Other Agencies. Other Federal agencies (e.g., Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration) may establish medical standards for licensing requirements. In some cases, these standards apply to jobs/positions within BPA since the jobs/positions require licenses.
4. BPA Role. BPA may establish physical requirements for individual jobs/positions when such requirements are considered essential for successful job performance.
B. Justification for Medical Standards and Physical Requirements
1. Medical standards are justified only when (a) the duties of the job/position are arduous and/or have an associated hazard or (b) the duties require a certain level of health status or fitness because the job/position involves a high degree of responsibility toward the public (e.g., Department of Transportation [DOT] or Federal Aviation Administration [FAA] licensing is required). The rationale for establishing the standard must be documented. Standards must be established by written directive, be uniformly applied, and be directly related to the actual requirements of the job/position. A medical standard addresses an employee’s medical/physical condition (e.g., vision or hearing).
2. Physical requirements must be clearly supported by the actual duties of the job/position and documented in the position description or job standard. A physical requirement addresses what an employee must do on the job (e.g., lift 50 pounds). Physical requirements describe the physical abilities that an employee must possess to perform a job/position successfully.
C. Listing of Jobs/Positions with Medical Standards and/or Physical Requirements at BPA. Jobs/Positions with medical standards and/or physical requirements (which may be amended by memorandum, by the Manager, Personnel Services) are listed in Attachment A. The Certificate of Medical Examination (SF 78) sets forth the functional requirements and environmental factors to be used in evaluating applicants for appointment, or whenever there is a direct question about the employee’s capacity to meet the physical or medical requirements of the job/position. In addition, the SF 78 provides guidance to physicians performing the medical examinations. These standards have been reviewed and approved by the BPA Medical Officer.
D. Process to Establish Medical Standards and/or Physical Requirements. If the supervisor of a job/position, or other individual with interest in the job/position, believes that the job/position should be covered by a medical standard and/or physical requirement, he/she should discuss the issue with the Medical Program Manager. If a decision is made to pursue the establishment of the medical standard and/or physical requirement, a copy of the subject job standard/position description, a copy of the proposed medical standards and/or physical requirements, and a justification must be forwarded to the Medical Program Manager who will review the information and the justification, and ensure that a review of the appropriateness of the proposal is made.
IX. WAIVER OF MEDICAL STANDARDS OR PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS
A medical standard or physical requirement must be waived when there is sufficient evidence that an applicant or employee who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential duties of the job/position without endangering the health and safety of the individual or others. In deciding whether or not a waiver is appropriate, management must consider:
Health and safety considerations.
The recent satisfactory performance in the same or a similar job/position. (Any unsatisfactory performance appraisal not due to physical or mental conditions should not be considered in this context.)
Successful performance of other life activities with similar physical and environmental demands.
Certification from a counselor of either the Veterans Administration or State vocational rehabilitation agency.
The use of prosthesis or other mechanical aid (including eyeglasses and hearing aid) that enables the applicant or employee to perform the work.
The successful performance of a real or simulated work sample, or
A determination that the condition may be reasonably accommodated (without undue hardship on BPA) to permit effective performance.
X. DEMONSTRATING ABILITY TO PERFORM THE ESSENTIAL TASKS OF A
Authority to Require a Demonstration.
In the case of jobs/positions covered by physical requirements or medical standards, an applicant for a job/position may be required to demonstrate the ability to perform the essential tasks of a particular job/position. This ability may be demonstrated through satisfactory performance of a real or simulated physical task, through evidence of prior demonstration of its performance, or through other means acceptable to BPA. The Medical Program Manager, working with line management, is responsible for identifying the means to be used to satisfy the demonstration requirement.
B. Standards for Required Demonstration.
1. A job analysis must be performed which clearly demonstrates the existence of the physical requirements for important parts of the job/position and establishes a link between the content of the screening procedure and the job/position requirements. The requirement must be directly related to essential job tasks, the demonstration required must be uniformly applied to all similarly qualified applicants, the level of proficiency required must not exceed that required in actual job performance, and reasonable accommodation must be provided where necessary. A description of the demonstration required, its relationship to job requirements, its uniform application, and each applicant’s performance must be documented.
2. In developing simulated tasks to determine qualifications, a commonsensible, practical screening procedure, which is adequate for its purpose, fair, and job-related, will be used. Complex psychometric procedures are not necessary since the purpose of the screening is simply to identify individuals who can safely and efficiently perform the tasks of the job--not to rank them or make inferences about their ability to perform based on other criteria. The acceptable level of performance is set at a point below which the job/position simply cannot be done. Minimum standards must be based on actual job requirements and may not be altered or modified based on age or sex.
XI. FAILURE TO MEET A MEDICAL STANDARD OR PHYSICAL REQUIREMENT
Failure to meet a properly established medical standard or physical requirement means that the individual applicant or employee is not qualified for the job/position unless a waiver can be granted or a reasonable accommodation can be identified and implemented.
The Manager, Personnel Services, only has authority to medically disqualify an applicant who does not have veteran’s preference on a certificate of eligibles. The applicant has the right to a higher-level review of the determination and must be notified by the Medical Program Manager. OPM can only approve the sufficiency of the reasons to disqualify or “pass over” an applicant with veteran’s preference who appears on a certificate of eligibles. Other guidance on this issue is available in Title 5, CFR 339.306, Processing Medical Eligibility Determinations on certificate of eligibles.
The results of the 1999 BPA and CPTC negotiations included agreement that requirements to have a CDL would not be considered a condition of employment for purposes of retention in the position if the employee is unable to obtain a CDL for medical reasons, provided that the need for a CDL is an incidental duty (e.g., this does not apply to Truck Drivers, Rigging Truck Drivers, Electrical Riggers, Line Equipment Operators, Welders, and Operating Engineers who are considered to be professional drivers). (However, a regular driver’s license is still considered a condition of employment for retention purposes.)
XII. SELECTION OF PHYSICIAN AND PAYMENT FOR SERVICES
A. Designating and Informing a Physician. When ordering or offering a medical evaluation, the Medical Program Manager designates the examining physician and pays for the exam. Exceptions to using a BPA-designated physician (e.g., using an employee’s own personal physician) may only be authorized by the Medical Program Manager and shall occur only when such official deems it impractical to use a BPA-designated physician. However, in addition to the results of an exam from a BPA-designated physician, an employee may obtain and provide additional medical documentation for review by the examining physician and/or the BPA Medical Officer. Any costs associated with obtaining such supplemental information cannot be paid for by BPA.
Personnel Services will provide the designated physician with a copy of any approved medical evaluation protocol (see BPA Personnel Letter 339-2, Medical Evaluation Protocols), any applicable physical requirements or medical standards for the job/position, and/or a description of the duties and requirements of the job/position, and any other pertinent factors directly relevant to determining the individual’s ability to perform safely and efficiently without hazard to him/herself or others.
B. Physician’s Report. The designated physician must submit the results of the medical evaluation, in writing, to the Medical Program Manager.
C. Payment for Medical Evaluations. Costs for any examination that is “ordered” or “offered” is paid by BPA. Applicants and employees must pay for any other medical evaluation.
XIII. USE OF MEDICAL INFORMATION
It is the responsibility of the appropriate deciding official to make an informed decision regarding the course of action to be taken in an individual situation. The Medical Program Manager will provide management with information from the medical exam to assist in making an informed decision concerning the employee’s ability to perform his/her duties. Information regarding the employee’s medical condition is not made available.
XIV. MAINTENANCE OF MEDICAL RECORDS
Medical records and reports shall be maintained in the official Employee Medical File (EMF) in accordance with Personnel Letter 293-2, Occupational Medical Records. Medical records shall be made available to an individual at his/her request except when a prudent physician would hesitate to inform a patient, in this manner, of the exact nature and possible outcome of an existing health condition. Under these circumstances, a designated licensed physician will only disclose the information in writing to the employee or the employee’s designated representative.
XV. RELATIONSHIP TO PERSONNEL LETTER ON DRUG FREE WORKPLACE
The provisions of BPAM 400/792C, Drug Free Workplace, apply to all medical evaluations for the purpose of drug testing or establishing a drug free workplace. In addition, this Personnel Letter does not modify or replace any provision of Personnel Letter 792-3, Employee Assistance Program.
Godfrey C. Beckett
Manager, Human Resources, Diversity and EEO
Listing of Jobs/Positions for which SF 78's have been prepared:
Aircraft Machinist Foreman III
Aircraft Patrol Observer
Assistant Dispatcher Trainee
Bindery Worker Foreman I
Electrical Utility Carpenter Apprentice
Electrical Utility Carpenter
Electrical Utility Carpenter Foreman II & III (Shop and Construction)
Chief Substation Operator III
Data Systems Craftsman I & II, & Trainee 5
Duplicating & Direct Print Foreman I
Electrical Rigger Apprentice
Electrical Rigger Foreman I & II
Electrical Rigger Foreman III
Electrical Test and Development Craftsman (E), I, II, & Trainee 5
Electrical Test and Development Craftsman (L), I & II
Electrical Test and Development Craftsman (L), 2, 3, 4, & Trainee 5
Electrician Foreman I & II (Construction, Maintenance & Minor Maintenance)
Electrician Foreman III (Construction and Maintenance)
Electronic Instrumentation Worker
Facilities Maintenance Worker (Field)
Facilities Maintenance Worker (Ross)
General Shops Helper
General Dispatcher, Relief
Heavy Equipment Operator Trainee
Heavy Equipment Operator
Heavy Mobile Equipment Mechanic, Apprentice
Heavy Mobil Equipment Mechanic Helper (Ross)
Heavy Mobile Equipment Mechanic (Field & Ross)
Heavy Mobile Equipment Mechanic (One Mechanic Shop)
Heavy Mobile Equipment Mechanic Foreman I (Field & Ross)
Heavy Mobile Equipment Mechanic Foreman III
Heavy Truck Driver Trainee
Heavy Truck Driver
Assistant Instrumentation Craftsman
Instrumentation Craftsman I & II
Instrumentation Craftsman (Laboratory) I & II, & Trainee 5
Light Truck Driver
Line Equipment Operator A
Line Equipment Operator B
Lineman Foreman I
Lineman Foreman III
Lithography/Bindery Foreman I
Machinist Foreman II
Electrical Utility Materials Handler and Trainee
Electrical Utility Materials Handler (Tools & Parts)
Electrical Utility Materials Handler Foreman I/II/III
Painter Foreman II
Photography Lab Worker
Photographer Foreman I
Plumber and Pipefitter
Plumber and Pipefitter Foreman II
Power System Control Craftsman I & II
Power System Control Craftsman 2, 3, & 4
Power System Control Craftsman Trainee 5
Printing Plant Foreman II
Reproduction Shop Helper
Reproduction Shop Worker
Rigging Truck Driver
Senior D.C. Substation Operator
Senior D.C. Substation Operator, Relief
Senior System Dispatcher
Senior System Dispatcher, Relief
Senior System Dispatcher, Outage
Sheet Metal Mechanic
Sheet Metal Mechanic Foreman II
Substation Operator Apprentice
Assistant D.C. Substation Operator
D.C. Substation Operator
System Dispatcher, Outage
Senior Dispatcher, Relief
System Protection Control Craftsman I & II, & Trainee 5
System Protection Control Craftsman (Lab) I & II, & Trainee 5
System Protection Maintenance Craftsman (Lab), Trainee I & II, and Trainee 5
Timber Bucker & Faller
Truck Foreman I
Truck Foreman III
Welder Foreman II
Student Aids assisting any of the Occupations Listed Above
List of General Schedule Positions Requiring a Pre-employment and Exit Physical Medical Examination:
Natural Resource Specialist (Ross Chemistry Lab)
Physical Science Technician
Chemistry Lab - Student Aid
Environmental Personnel (selected positions)
Student Aids assisting any of the Occupations Listed Above
Personnel Letter 339-1(Rev.), September 2003 Supercedes PL 339-7, April 20, 2001 and
PL 339-7, June 22, 2001
Human Resources, Diversity and EEO