Worksite Consultants preps employees for job rigors

The Memphis Daily News/The Memphis News

Dec. 28, 2013

In an industrial park in Southeast Memphis is a facility that can best be described as an “adult jungle gym.”

Among warehouses, 18-wheelers and office space is the home of Worksite Consultants. With its 3,000 square feet of ladders and ramps, boxes and weights of all measure, owner Denise Higdon and her team put the employees of some of the area’s largest companies through their paces.

“Our goal is to help employers effectively place and maintain their employees in positions that they can safely perform,” Higdon said.

Jetry “Jet” McNeal undergoes physical testing under the supervision of Worksite Consultants occupational therapist David Brick.

(Photo: Andrew J. Breig)

She conducts physical capabilities testing and fitness for duty testing on those who will be expected to climb stairs or vertical ladders, push or pull product, lift packages or maneuver a dolly.

Higdon, an occupational therapist trained at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, was doing training and injury prevention for a company when she found herself laid off and pregnant with her son. When she told her customers she wouldn’t be with them any longer, they told her, “‘Well what if we write you a check, will you just keep doing what you’re doing?’ So that was really how it started.”

It was 1999, and work continued that way for a while, in this freelance model of injury prevention.

“I accidentally started a business,” she said. “Our customers started this business for me, really. We have some loyal customers who really saw the benefit of some of the things that we had been doing and just allowed me an opportunity to continue to do that with them.”

She counts among her clients the likes of Hardin’s Sysco Food Services, Barnhart Crane & Rigging, Ozark Motor Lines, Kroger and AS Barboro distributors.

She was going into the businesses and working onsite – Sysco had a space for her that was little more than a closet – until she finally crunched the numbers and realized her own space made better financial sense. Worksite Consultants, as a fully formed business, began in 2001 . . . (read more)