Functional Ability Test WSIB

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Quick Overview:

A Functional Ability Test (FAT) is a comprehensive assessment that evaluates an individual’s physical and cognitive abilities to perform specific tasks related to their job or daily activities. It is often used in the context of workers’ compensation claims, particularly in cases where there are concerns about an individual’s ability to return to work following an injury or illness.


Question: What is a Functional Ability Test (FAT)?

1. A FAT assesses an individual’s functional capacity by measuring their physical strength, range of motion, coordination, and endurance.
2. It also evaluates cognitive abilities such as memory, attention span, problem-solving skills, and decision-making capabilities.
3. The test typically involves performing various tasks that simulate real-life work activities under controlled conditions.
4. The results of the FAT provide objective data on an individual’s functional limitations and capabilities, which can help determine their suitability for certain job roles or accommodations.
5. In the context of workers’ compensation claims, a FAT can assist employers and insurance companies in making informed decisions regarding return-to-work plans and disability benefits.


Q1: Who conducts Functional Ability Tests?

A1: Qualified healthcare professionals such as occupational therapists or physiotherapists usually administer FATs. They have specialized training in assessing functional abilities and interpreting the results accurately.

Q2: When should a Functional Ability Test be conducted?

A2: A FAT may be recommended when there are concerns about an employee’s ability to perform essential job duties due to a medical condition or workplace injury. It is typically conducted after initial medical treatment has been provided but before determining long-term disability status.

Q3: Are Functional Ability Tests standardized across jurisdictions?

A3: While there are general guidelines for conducting FATs, specific protocols may vary depending on jurisdictional regulations and industry standards. It is important to consult local laws and best practices when implementing these tests.

Q4: Can employers use the results of a Functional Ability Test to terminate an employee?

A4: The primary purpose of a FAT is to assess an individual’s functional abilities and provide recommendations for accommodation or return-to-work plans. Terminating an employee solely based on the results of a FAT may be considered discriminatory and could lead to legal implications.

Q5: How long does a Functional Ability Test typically take?

A5: The duration of a FAT can vary depending on the complexity of the tasks being assessed and the individual’s specific needs. On average, it may take anywhere from two to four hours to complete.

Q6: Can individuals prepare for a Functional Ability Test?

A6: While it is not necessary to “study” for a FAT, individuals can benefit from being well-rested, hydrated, and properly dressed in comfortable clothing. It is also helpful to communicate any concerns or limitations beforehand with the administering healthcare professional.

Q7: Are there any risks associated with undergoing a Functional Ability Test?

A7: Generally, FATs are safe; however, there may be some physical exertion involved that could cause temporary discomfort or fatigue. Healthcare professionals conducting these tests ensure that appropriate precautions are taken into account to minimize any potential risks.


Functional Ability Tests play an essential role in assessing an individual’s capacity to perform job-related tasks after an injury or illness. By providing objective data on functional limitations and capabilities, these tests help inform decisions regarding accommodations, return-to-work plans, and disability benefits. However, it is crucial for employers and insurance companies to adhere to jurisdictional regulations and best practices when implementing these assessments while considering potential legal implications.