Too Many PDA’s, Too Little Time

Industrial RehabIndustrial Rehab December 13, 2011

“I am a CEAS level I OTR, working for a large hospital system that has been tasked to complete physical demands assessments on 20 positions for a plant locally in VA. I have been allotted three days for this project and they want it completed before the end of the year due to budget. I have a meeting set up to meet the HR managers on Monday (meet and greet, and tour of the facility).

“What advice can you give to help me in making this a successful first attempt?”

Answer: 20 PDA’S in 3 days is a tall order unless of course the jobs in question are all very simple. I suggest you use a standardized, ADA-compliant template. For each job, find out the job title, job purpose, and essential job functions. make sure the “20 jobs” really aren’t workstations that are part of only 5 real jobs. In other words, some manufacturing jobs have workstations such as loader, machine operator, packer, palletizer that are all part of a production worker job (1 actual job), but the employer counts them as 4 jobs.

So, once you compile this information, you will have a better idea of the size of the job before you. It may not be so daunting afterall. I’m reasonably certain that if you have agreed on a price and begun the work, if you do not submit final reports until after the first of the year it will not be a deal-breaker. But make sure you discuss come contingency plans with them in the event the project takes longer than anticipated.

“I am looking for a video camera to tape the positions for analysis.”

Answer: I use a SONY WEBBIE MHS-CM1 HD Camcorder. You can get them for less than $250. They are very small, easy to use, and take nice video. I purchased an additional memory chip so i can film up to 2 hours. The one it comes with only give you 45 minutes.

“How long do I need for each position?”

Answer: That depends on the complexity of the job and there is no way i can give you an idea of this unless i was on the walkthrough myself. Single workstation jobs take about 30-60 minutes while jobs that with several functions and work areas can take 2-3 hours.

“Do I video record several cycles of the position?”

Answer: If it is a job with definable work cycles, yes and normally 3 work cycles is fine. If it is a job without definable work cycles, then make sure you get at least 5 minutes of video on each essential job function.

“What type of format to use for this type of report?”
Answer: There are a lot of formats out there. I use the format i teach in my courses, but it is proprietary. As a resource, you can take the pda course we offer online to get you started.

“My concern is most of my work has been in office ergonomics…….so this will be my first time to do an assessment in a industrial setting I anxious about doing my first analysis in an industrial setting.”
Answer: Good, you should be. I say this to caution you as you seem a bit overwhelmed. It is important that you remember a pda is a legal document. Therapists are just as subject to legal action from malpractice in industrial settings as they are in the clinic.

Make sure you submit your drafts to the employer so they can review the technical aspects of the report. You are the expert in task analysis, but they are the expert at that industry. Then have them sign off on the final copies.

One thought

  • Mark

    Make sure you identify your drafts clearly as such on the face of the document. I understand it does not become a “legal” document as long as it is identified as a draft.

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