Knowing the physical demands of work is an essential foundation for injury prevention and management. This knowledge is essential for matching the worker with the work and forms the basis for developing post-offer and return to work coordination, transitional duty programs, and industrial rehabilitation programs for the injured worker. Most organizations have poorly written job descriptions that describe only a few physical demands of the job in very general terms and are woefully inadequate for any of these purposes. 

Background information regarding the Department of Labor’s classification system is utilized in all ADM Job Descriptions (JDs). The classifications of the levels of work, (Sedentary, Light, Medium, Heavy and Very Heavy), the duration of frequency (Constantly, Frequently, Occasionally, and Never) will be described. The definitions of the physical demands (Reaching, Stooping, Crouching, Kneeling, etc.) will be explained. This information will help the treating physician accurately determine whether or not the injured worker can return to their usual and customary occupation. 

The results of a completed comprehensive Job Description can be used to determine the tasks included on post-offer and return to work coordination. In addition, Job Descriptions can be an important part of post-injury management and transitional duty. 

The purpose of the Job Description is to define the physical demands of work utilizing the DOL classification system listed below.  

Physical Demands Categories: 

Lifting: raising or lowering an object from one level to another

Carrying: transporting an object, usually holding it in the hands or arms 

Pushing: exerting force upon an object so that it moves away from the force 

Pulling: exerting force upon an object so that it moves toward the force 

Standing: remaining on one’s feet in an upright position without moving about 

Walking: moving about on foot

Sitting: remaining in a seated position 

Climbing: ascending or descending ladders, stairs, scaffolding, ramps, poles etc. 

Balancing: maintaining body equilibrium to prevent falling 

Stooping: bending the body downward and forward by bending the spine at the waist 

Kneeling: bending the legs at the knees to come to rest on knee or knees 

Crouching: Bending body downward and forward by bending legs and spine 

Crawling: moving about on hands and knees or hands and feet 

Reaching: extending arms and hands in any direction 

Handling: seizing, holding, grasping, turning, or working with hands 

Fingering: picking, pinching, or otherwise working primarily with the fingers 

Feeling: perceiving attributes of items as size, shape, temperature 

Talking: expressing or exchanging ideas by means of the spoken word 

Hearing: perceiving the nature of sounds by the ear 

Tasting/Smelling: distinguishing flavors or odors using the tongue and/or nose 

Near Acuity: clarity of vision at 20 inches or less 

Far Acuity: clarity of vision at 20 feet or more 

Depth Perception: ability to judge distances and spatial relations

Accommodation: adjustment of lens of eyes to bring an object into sharp focus 

Color Vision: ability to identify and distinguish colors 

Field of Vision: Observing an area that can be seen up and down and right and left when eyes are fixed on a given point 

Strength Demands Defined:

Sedentary: Exerting up to 10 lbs. of force occasionally and/or a negligible amount of force frequently to lift, carry, push, pull, or otherwise move objects, including the human body. Involves sitting most of the time but may involve walking or standing for brief periods of time. 

Light: Exerting up to 20 lbs. of force occasionally and/or up to 10 lbs force frequently and/or a negligible amount of force constantly. Even when weight lifted is negligible, a job is rate light when: 1) it involves walking or standing to a significant degree; 2) it requires sitting most of the time but involves pushing and/or pulling of arm or leg controls; 3) it involves working at a production rate that requires constant pushing or pulling of materials. 

Medium: Exerting 20 to 50 lbs. of force occasionally and/or 10 -25 lbs force frequently and/or up to 10 lbs. of force constantly. Physical demand requirements are greater than that required for Light Work. 

Heavy: Exerting 50 to 100 lbs. of force occasionally and/or 25 -50 lbs force frequently and/or 10 to 20 lbs. of force constantly. Physical demand requirements are greater than that required for Light Work. 

Very Heavy: Exerting greater than 100 lbs. of force occasionally and/or greater than 50 lbs force frequently and/or greater than 20 lbs. of force constantly. Physical demand requirements are greater than that required for Light Work. 

Frequency Demands Defined:

Never: Activity or condition does not exist.

Occasionally: Activity or condition exists up to 1/3 of the time.

Frequently: Activity or condition exists from 1/3 to 2/3 of the time.

Constantly: Activity or condition exists 2/3 or more of the time. 

If you would like additional information on ADM’s Job Description services and how we may further assist your claim, please call 866-491-5199, ext. 100 and we will be glad to address your questions.

 

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