Measuring Workers

American Disabilities Act (ADA)

In 1992, the American Disability Act (ADA) was structured and enacted to protect against discrimination based on physical disability. This legislation protects individuals with disabilities, both actual and perceived, in the work marketplace. The ADA’s protection applies primarily, but not exclusively, to “disabled” individuals. An individual is “disabled” if he or she meets at least any one of the following tests:

  • He or she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of his/her major life activities.
  • He or she has a record of such an impairment.
  • He or she is regarded as having such impairment.

ADA Titles

Employment (Title I)

Business must provide reasonable accommodations to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in all aspects of employment. Possible changes may include restructuring jobs, altering the layout of workstations, or modifying equipment. Employment aspects may include the application process, hiring, wages, benefits, and all other aspects of employment. Medical examinations are highly regulated.

Public Services (Title II)

Public services, which include state and local government instrumentalities, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, and other commuter authorities, cannot deny services to people with disabilities participation in programs or activities which are available to people without disabilities. In addition, public transportation systems, such as public transit buses, must be accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Public Accommodations (Title III)

All new construction and modifications must be accessible to individuals with disabilities. For existing facilities, barriers to services must be removed if readily achievable. Public accommodations include facilities such as restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, retail stores, etc., as well as privately owned transportation systems.

Telecommunications (Title IV)

Telecommunications companies offering telephone service to the general public must have telephone relay service to individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TTYs) or similar devices.

Miscellaneous (Title V)

Includes a provision prohibiting either (a) coercing or threatening or (b) retaliating against the disabled or those attempting to aid people with disabilities in asserting their rights under the ADA.

Dictionary Of Occupational Titles (DOT)

The Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) was developed in response to the demand of an expanding public employment service for standardized occupational information to support job placement activities. The U.S. Employment Service recognized this need in the mid-1930’s, soon after the passage of the Wagner-Peyser Act. This Act established a Federal-State employment service system, and initiated an occupational research program, utilizing analysts located in numerous field offices throughout the country to collect the information required. The use of this information has expanded from job matching applications to various uses for employment counseling, occupational and career guidance, and labor market information services. In order to properly match jobs and workers, the public employment service system requires that a uniform occupational language be used in all of its local job service offices. Highly trained occupational analysts must go out and collect reliable data. This data is provided at job interviewers to systematically compare and match the qualifications of applicants who are seeking employment. The Occupational Analysis (OA) Program is currently supporting job analysis activity in the states of Michigan, Missouri, Massachusetts, and Utah, with North Carolina serving as the lead Field Center providing leadership and oversight. Based on the data collected by occupational analysts, the first edition of the DOT was published in 1939. The first edition contained approximately 17,500 concise definitions presented alphabetically, by title, with a coding arrangement for occupational classification. Blocks of jobs were assigned 5- or 6-digit codes which placed them in one of 550 occupational groups and indicated whether the jobs were skilled, semi- skilled, or unskilled.

Physical Demand Level (PDL)

The DOT made the five physical demand levels to group the 17,500 jobs to Sedentary, Light, Medium, Heavy and Very Heavy. This will indicate to the applicant what type or general work is required with the job.

  • Sedentary:
    Requires exerting up to 10 pounds of force occasionally (0-33% of an 8 hour workday) or primarily seated work.
  • Light:
    Exerting 20 pounds of force occasionally or negligible weight frequently (34% – 66% of an eight hour work day), and may also involve standing and walking to a significant degree.
  • Medium:
    Exerting up to 50 pounds of force occasionally, 20 pounds frequently or up to 10 pounds constantly (67% to 100% of an 8 hour workday).
  • Heavy:
    Exerting up to 100 pounds occasionally, 50 pounds frequently or 20 pounds constantly.
  • Very Heavy:
    That which requires exerting greater than 100 pounds of force occasionally, greater than 50 pounds frequently and 20 pounds constantly.

There are several ways to measure work physical demands the job analysis is useful as is the DOT and subjective reporting by the patient in the intake form. Physical demand levels are classified by the activity and the activity is characterized as light, medium, heavy, and very heavy.

O = Occasional (1-33% or 1 to 32 reps/day)

F = Frequent (34-66% or 33 to 200 reps/day)

C = Constant (67-100% or greater than 200 reps/day)

Variable and Fixed Factors.
This is a list of possible measurements for data collection and interpretation:

1. Weights
2. Forces Push or Pull
3. Distance
4. Repetition
5. Durations
6. Minimums
7. Maximums
8. Averages
9. Quotes and Rates
10. Starting and End points
11. Work station design
12. Height
13. Depth
14. Length
15. Environment

Dictionary of Occupational Titles

The Dictionary of Occupational Titles, commonly known as the DOT was the creation of the U.S. Employment Service, which used its thousands of occupational definitions to match job seekers to jobs from 1939 to the late 1990s. Before 1939, nationwide occupational information was not conveniently reported by the Employment Service. By 1939, it had become clear to the Employment service that a standardized volume of job definitions was needed for employment-related purposes. The Employment Service published revisions of the DOT periodically with the final publication in 1991.[1] In a 1980 study, the National Research Council reviewed the DOT and the job analysis methology used to create it. The NRC concluded that the worker functions, including the strength demands, SVP, and GED variables were not based in then-current vocational theory. This problem was not corrected in the last edition (1991) of the DOT. When the ADA was enacted in 1992, it set the stage for the employer to create a detailed description of all jobs to be performed by the employee. The job was then researched in the Department of Labor’s book the Dictionary of Occupational Titles to gain a better understanding of the job and the physical demand levels (PDL) the job requires. From the DOT information, physical demands that are critical to performing the job duty safely are termed the essential functions. The FCE can be used to test the essential functions to determine if the patient can safely satisfy the job requirements.

The functional capacity evaluation has proved to be a valuable tool to demonstrate that the applicant’s disability will not affect his/her job performance. It is common to perform an abbreviated FCE in conjunction with a physical exam to show the employee capacity and satisfaction of the essential functions.