If you’re a heavy equipment operator, you may have been asked to that you are required to have Department of Transportation (DOT) physical.
In order to keep the workplace safe and minimize the risk of accidents, you may need to pass the DOT physical examination to get accepted for a job as a heavy equipment operator.
This is especially true if you are applying for a CDL license in order for you to drive a dump or trailer truck. Truck driving could be one of your responsibilities in your job.
Before you can start your job, you need to be screened for physical fitness and health conditioning. You are then required to pass a Department of Transportation physical examination.
This test confirms that you are a fit and qualified enough to perform your job as an operator to keep the road and worksite safe.
If you are asking how to pass the test, here are some of the points you need to remember.
How to Apply for DOT Physical Certificate
- Get a copy of the Medical Examination Report, where you can download from here, fill out the form and put the necessary details, and bring the form with you to the examination. When filling out the details, be honest, indicate your prevailing conditions, because if you’re not, your certificate could be revoked by the DOT.
- Find a doctor that is DOT-accredited or registered on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) registry. You can find one in your area. Check this out.
- Bring your driver’s license, previous CDL or any certificate that was issued to you before, only if you have one.
- The examiner will then see the Medical Examination Report form you filled out. He will also ask questions about your health conditions. The medical examiner will do the standard test for the heart and lungs, mouth, nose, throat, musculature, spine, neurologic function, and movement of limbs.
- The examiner will also perform basic tests such as blood pressure measurement, visions and hearing check, glucose level check, urinalysis, laboratory tests and others. He will also review your health history, perform a thorough medical examination.
- If the examiner finds you are physically capable of operating heavy equipment, he will give you a copy of the exam result and your original certificate. The certificate is valid for 2 years but if the examiner finds a medical issue that requires continuous screening, you may be issued with a certificate that is only valid for a certain period lesser than 2 years.
If You Want to Pass the DOT Physical Exam, Remember These Words of Advice
- Only a licensed examiner can do the physical examination. This examiner must be listed on the official registry of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Before, a state-licensed medical practitioner can carry out the exam, but because of not many of them knows and understands the DOT regulations, the exam can now only be done by an FMCSA-registered examiner.
- The medical certificate that was issued to you is valid for 24 months only. The examiner has the discretion to issue a certificate with validity less than that period if the applicant has a prevailing health condition that needs continuous monitoring such as diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.
- What makes an applicant fail the DOT exam? If you have a limp impairment, your vision and hearing problems, if you have prevailing diabetes and sugar in the urine and you’re using insulin to maintain it, if you have cardiac issues you will need a stress test, if you have epilepsy, and you are taking alcohol, uncontrolled high blood pressure. These are the common issues that will make you fail the physical exam. Other big factors that may cause to fail the exam are the loss of ability to control the heavy equipment, impairment of limbs, poor vision, mental disorder, and respiratory issues.
- Basic factors to pass the exam are as follows: You must have a sugar level of 200 and below, you should have a correctable vision of 20/40, your blood pressure must be higher than 140/90, you must be able to tell colors of traffic lights and signs, you must not under habit-forming narcotics or amphetamines.
- Preparing for the DOT exam. Bring with you your prescription glasses and contact lenses and hearing aid with you during the exam. The medications you are currently taking and the names of the prescribing doctor.
- Be prepared to submit compliance evidence from your doctor for conditions such as heart disease, sleep apnea, diabetes and neurological conditions. Bring your medical record.
- Limit your taking of sweets and caffeine prior to the exam to prevent your sugar from rising and to avoid high blood pressure.
- When completing the health history portion of the exam, explain any current or previous medical conditions that you’ve had along with dates; be as accurate as possible when giving details. If you’re telling inaccurate information, the examiner may perceive you’re lying as it is fraudulent to falsify the details.
- You can always get a second opinion in case the doctor did not pass you. Let’s face it, not all can pass the physical examination. In case you did not meet the medical standards, you can look for a second opinion by adhering to the DOT protocols about this.
DOT Physical Exam Has Seven (7) Different Sections
- The first section is the General Information.
- Your health history and previous health conditions you’ve had in the past.
- Testing of visions. A heavy equipment operator or a driver has to have a minimum of 20/40 vision in both eyes in order to be certified. This is regardless of whether you’re or you’re not wearing corrective glasses. The horizontal field of gaze has to be at least 70 degrees. You need to able to discern colors and distinguish the red, blue, green, and other colors.
- Hearing test. The operator has to be able to hear a whisper from at least 5 feet away for both ears.
- Blood pressure and pulse rate checking portion of the test. You need have a blood pressure of 139/89. If your blood pressure is above that rate, then you’re chance of being qualified and pass the DOT test is reduced.
- Laboratory testing is the sixth portion. This is when you give your urine sample to check for blood, protein and sugar. Signs and traces of those are indications of your hidden medical issues.
- The last part is the general physical exam. This is when the examiner listens to your heart, lung, and check your field of gaze, balance, abdomen. Muscle test may also be included.
To Make a Conclusion
Would it be essential of knowing that you are medically and physically sound to perform your job as a heavy equipment operator? It is important to be aware of what the DOT exam involves for you to find out if you’re qualified or not to operate heavy equipment so that you would not pose danger to yourself and others.
It is always important to be in good physical shape as possible if you want to be a heavy equipment operator. Take all your medication and eat in balance, and you should be good at taking the DOT physical exam.
Passing the Department of Transportation physical examination is important if you want to get into this field. Having the medical certificate plays a big role to get a job. Not passing the exam may cause disruption of employment.