Typically, writing job descriptions is human resources’ territory. HR is responsible for maintaining accurate and up-to-date job descriptions for every role in your company and one of the key best practices for writing a stellar job description is to first perform a job analysis of the position.
The job description generally outlines the purpose of the job and essential job functions, along with any key requirements or job expectations, whereas the job analysis takes it a step further and breaks down each essential function into smaller, measurable tasks.
HR is unlikely to have performed every job in your workplace, so to conduct a proper job analysis, HR needs to objectively examine the following job elements through observations and interviews with current workers and supervisors:
Physical, sensory and cognitive demands and how often they are required
Common tools and materials handled (including weights and measures)
With productivity goals and busy work schedules, however, it can be difficult for workers to find the time to describe all the “how” and “why” of doing specific tasks. To address this challenge, you can make the process part of your workplace safety program and enlist the aid of safety managers.
More than just administrative paperwork and compliance red tape, thorough job analyses can help keep workers safer on the job. Here are five safety reasons for employees to embrace the job analysis process.
It’s a good mechanism for safety assessments. When we do a job every day, we are unlikely to perceive tasks as hazardous. Fresh eyes from an objective observer are more likely to recognize dangers and reduce the risk for injury.
It can lead to job modification and better efficiency. When tasks are broken down and analyzed, it’s easier to spot more efficient or safer ways to perform them. It might be as simple as realizing that one department has three related jobs that require long hours of repetitive movement. If you implement job rotation so workers in the department are switching tasks every few hours, you might eliminate repetitive motion injuries.
It ensures fair hiring practices. Having a proper job analysis in place that clearly outlines the essential functions of the job helps employers determine whether a qualified individual can perform the essential functions with or without reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
It improves new-hire onboarding and employee training. Understanding specific job demands helps employers develop new-hire and ongoing safety training that is job-specific rather than general. For example, a new warehouse employee’s training might include safe lifting techniques alongside skills training. Targeted training can bring workers up to speed faster, so they are more productive and helpful to the team sooner.
It helps establish fitness for duty. If a worker is injured, whether on the job or a personal ailment, the documented physical demands and requirements for a position help medical providers determine when a worker can safely return to the job. A job analysis also helps employers develop work restrictions and create a structured return-to-work program, so workers don’t re-injure themselves by returning to work too soon.
Job Analysis Isn’t the Only Area Where Safety & HR Overlap
Employee engagement is an important part of a successful workplace safety program and many key program elements are best served when safety and HR team up and share information. New technologies make it easier than ever for leadership teams to collaborate and share data in real-time.
Check out our latest whitepaper Modern Workplace: Using Technology to Ensure OSHA Compliance and Manage Safety Programs to learn more.
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