Lifting restriction

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Lifting restriction

Post by maliha » Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:29 am

56 y/o male CMV driver, s/p lumbar disc surgery with fusion 2011. Has not been driving since then. Has permanent lifting restriction 50 lb per functional capacity evaluation (FCE). Presented for recertification exam. He is asymptomatic. It is my understanding that he would be disqualified due to this permanent restriction. Many truck drivers must be able to lift up to 75 lb. Until he can show documentation that he no longer has permanent restrictions, is this the correct action?

Robert Swotinsky MD
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Re: Lifting restriction

Post by Robert Swotinsky MD » Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:32 am

Lifting up to 75 lb is not a physical qualification requirement under Part 391. Thus, it is not a basis for unqualification for one's DOT card. The employer may separately have a standard that requires ability to lift/carry up to 75 lb. If so, and if you've determined the driver does not meet that standard, issue the DOT card (assuming the driver is otherwise qualified) and notify the employer that the driver does not meet the employer-specific standard.

FMCSA does advise medical examiners to be mindful of physical requirements of CMV operators. And, MEs are taught that if they qualify a driver for operating one CMV, the card is good for operating any CMV, including ice road trucks hauling logs in Alaska. But, FMCSA does not have standards, and has scant guidance, with regard to physical capacity requirements. Also consider that we've all had the experience of the 80 year old company owner, or the 105 lb slight woman, who wants a DOT card, and although we're pretty sure neither has the physical capacity to climb on top of trucks/move 55 gallon drums/strap down logs on the back of trucks in frigid cold in Alaska, etc., we issue the examinee a DOT card if that examinee is safe to drive a truck.

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