A job dictionary is a valuable resource that employers in numerous industries can rely upon for the purpose of injury prevention and management. A job dictionary analyses each job role with the aim of detailing the specific physical, behavioural and cognitive demands of that role. In addition to this, it also details environmental factors that may impact upon that particular role, such as inhalable dust and noise levels. Ultimately, a job dictionary ensures that all relevant stakeholders are informed of each job task and have an inherent understanding of the role requirements.

A job dictionary created by KINNECT profiles the specific tasks associated with a role and identifies potential risks. It provides objective information, which can be used by an employer or allied health professional, to understand the physical requirements of the role. Over the past two decades, KINNECT have developed a proven method for creating job dictionaries. Through thorough documentation of job task analysis and requirements, we are able to assist employers across Australia to reduce and manage workplace injuries.

What is included in a job dictionary?¹,²

A job dictionary is a well-researched and prepared document that includes numerous factors identified from a job task analysis. Once the relevant roles for analysis have been determined and agreed upon, a clinician will attend your workplace to review job descriptions, interview and observe workers to ascertain specific job demands for all tasks performed. The clinician will also review the shift patterns and scheduled breaks to determine an overall physical demand level for the role. KINNECT use the US Department of Labor Physical Demand Characteristics of Work chart that lists the occupational requirements for physical exertion to determine the demand level¹. Based on the amount of weight moved and the frequency (detailed below as a percentage of a shift), a job role will have a physical demand level of either sedentary, light, medium, heavy or very heavy.

Physical demand levelOccasional (0-33%)Frequent (34-66%)Constant (67-100%)Typical energy required
Sedentary4.5kgNegligibleNegligible1.5-2.1 METs
Light9kg4.5kg and/or walk and/or stand with operation of controlsNegligible and/or operate controls while seated2.2-3.5 METs
Medium9-22.7kg4.5-11.4kg4.5kg3.6-6.3 METs
Heavy22.7-45.4kg11.4-22.7kg4.5-9kg6.4-7.5 METs
Very Heavy45.4kg>22.7kg>9kg> 7.5 METs

¹Reference: Matheson LN. Chapter 18: Functional Capacity Evaluation. Pages 168-188. IN: Demeter SL Andersson GBJ Smith GM. Disability Evaluation. Mosby. American Medical Association. (1996).

The energy required for a role is expressed in METs, or metabolic equivalents. As an example, one MET is the energy it takes to sit quietly, whereas greater than six METs is the equivalent of playing a soccer game².

In addition to determining the overall physical demand level, the clinician will analyse equipment, tools, personal protective equipment and uniforms used. At this stage, the clinician will also observe the functional demands such as postural tolerances, weighted tolerances and the environment.

Sounds like a lot is involved in a job dictionary. What are the benefits of having job dictionaries to refer to?

Obtaining job dictionaries for the roles your employees undertake have immense benefits for both operational procedures and injury management. Some examples of these benefits include:

· A job dictionary provides a detailed description and analysis that can be used in conjunction with pre-employment screening. You will be able to assess a potential employee’s capacity against job role requirements which ensures you are placing the right people in the right jobs.

· In the case of an injury, suitable duties will be able to be easily identified. Through consulting the job dictionary, you will be able to delegate less strenuous tasks to the injured employee.

· A job dictionary assists in tailoring injury prevention programs specific to particular job roles. For example, if regular heavy overhead lifting is identified in the job dictionary, programs targeting shoulder strengthening and stretching can be implemented.

· The return to work process can be fast tracked with a job dictionary when it is provided to an external provider such as doctor or other allied health professional. Using the job dictionary to identify reduced or restricted duties that the employee can perform while recovering enables them to return to work sooner.

How can KINNECT assist?

By having KINNECT provide thorough and clear documentation about best practices required for physical tasks, companies can reduce injury rates, assist with injury management and return to work programs, and aid in the development of pre-employment testing.

KINNECT have also developed a suitable duties checklist which is added to all job dictionaries completed. This checklist summarises the potential suitable duties that may be available to an individual, should they sustain an injury, categorising these duties into sedentary, light, medium and heavy. This provides medical personnel with the ability to make informed decisions regarding return to work and eliminates the chance of an individual being issued a total incapacitated certificate due to lack of understanding of the available duties and job demands.

References

1. Jette, M., Sidney, K. & Blumchen, G. (1990). Metabolic equivalents (METS) in exercise testing, exercise prescription, and evaluation of functional capacity. Department of Kinanthropology, School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Canada.

2. Matheson LN. Chapter 18: Functional Capacity Evaluation. Pages 168-188. IN: Demeter SL Andersson GBJ Smith GM. Disability Evaluation. Mosby. American Medical Association. (1996). Metabolic equivalents (METS) in exercise testing, exercise prescription, and evaluation of functional capacity. Department of Kinanthropology, School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Canada.

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