What’s Involved in a DOT Physical?

Any employer with an employee whose job impacts both the safety of the public and their own safety will be asked to have a regular DOT physical. Think of it as a way for employers to dot their i’s and cross their t’s for safety-sensitive reasons, pun intended. Occasionally, employees become overwhelmed at the thought of a routine DOT physical, but the process is straightforward and easy enough once you’re aware of what’s involved.

What Is a DOT Physical?

The DOT physical is a physical examination that covers several different categories to ensure an employee is able to perform their responsibilities safely without posing a risk to themselves or others. The physical includes an examination of general appearance such as eyes, ears, mouth and throat. The exam also includes an assessment of the heart, lungs and chest, abdomen, spine, and extremities.

The Dot physical makes an effort to detect any issues with breathing or heart murmurs and impaired respiratory functions or cyanosis as a way to ensure safety is a priority at all times. If there are concerns surrounding neurological issues, such as impaired equilibrium or speech patterns or asymmetric deep tendon reflexes, those will be discovered during the physical as well.

What Is Covered by a DOT Physical?

While it seems like a daunting task to receive a DOT physical, it’s not much more complex than the regular yearly check-up you would typically receive. The DOT physical includes the checking of vision, hearing, blood pressure/pulse rate, and a urinalysis. Since most employees who are subject to receiving a DOT physical are drivers, they’re required to have at least 20/40 acuity without correction in each eye while maintaining 70 degrees of peripheral vision.

Regarding the hearing portion, employees must be able to hear at a distance of 5 feet or less with or without a hearing aid device. Blood pressure and pulse rate are monitored to ensure each employee is within the norm and not suffering from high blood pressure or irregular heartbeats. If so, they could be a potential risk to themselves or others while driving or operating machinery. A urinalysis is necessary to detect any underlying medical conditions like diabetes, for example.

Where Is the DOT Physical Conducted?

Since a DOT physical is completed by a medical examiner who has received certification by the FMCSA, most exams are given at a local doctor’s office or hospital. If you’re located in or around Houston, TX, the Internal Medicine Diagnostic Center can provide a DOT physical when needed. It’s encouraged that each employee receives a physical upon being hired and again on a routine basis, typically annually, throughout their employment.

Ultimately, the medical examiner will determine if a candidate has met all necessary requirements included in a DOT physical. The report will then be provided to the employer for a final decision regarding employment. If you’re in the Houston, TX, area, make an appointment with Internal Medicine Diagnostic Center today for all of your DOT physical needs.