What is a risk assessment, task analysis and job dictionary and how they can benefit a business?

What is a risk assessment, task analysis and job dictionary and how they can benefit a business?
  • Risk assessment – A risk assessment is a tool that is used to determine the possible risks when completing a job task. These can be risks relating to weight being lifted, posture (prolonged, repetitive, awkward positioning), vibration, frequency and duration, to name a few. A risk assessment considers all possible hazards that may put the worker at a risk of injury.
  • Task analysis – Task analysis is a systematic process that breaks down a task into parts, to gain insight into how that task is performed, and thus identifying opportunities for improvement in efficiency and reducing risk associated with that task.
  • Job dictionary – A job dictionary is a comprehensive analysis of every task required for a job role. It consists of a detailed quantified analysis of the demands including physical, psychosocial, cognitive and sensory.

Risk assessment

A risk assessment looks at an individual task in detail including biomechanics, material handling and the non-material handling forces required e.g. environment, tools used, and psychosocial demands.

It includes an in-depth identification of a risk specifically associated with each part of a task.

Recommendations on how to reduce the risk associated with each part of a task using the full spectrum of control levels is also included.

Re-assessment can be completed once controls have been implemented, to quantify the reduction in risk.

Tools that can be used in a risk assessment include:

  • Comparison to normative data (Blankenship, Anthropometrics)
  • Video assistance tools to help with visualisation of risk
  • Body specific risk assessment tools (PErforM, RULA-REBA, mANTRA, etc)

Use case

Risk identification, quantifying risk, risk reduction strategies.

Job dictionary

A job dictionary includes a summary of all the physical demands (material handling and non-material handling) required for a job role, usually made up of multiple tasks.

It includes an overview of other risks associated with the role, including but not limited to, environmental, psychosocial, cognitive, and sensory risks.

The job dictionary catalogues each task required for the job role, it provides an overview of key risks and risk classifications.

Use case

The injury management process to support return to work, pre-employment and other functional capacity assessments, high level overview of tasks that are high risk and warrant further investigation.

Who completes the assessments?

Occupationally trained physiotherapists and work health and safety officers are capable of completing these assessments.

A physiotherapist would approach the risk assessment and task analysis predominantly from a musculoskeletal perspective, but also look holistically at the environmental, psychosocial, and cognitive demands.

The analysis involves quantifying the musculoskeletal risk and recommendations are therefore to reduce the musculoskeletal risk.

Risk assessments can be conducted on high risk tasks identified in a job dictionary, but this is not exclusive, they are also performed when no job dictionary exists.

Injury is one reason but there are many reasons to conduct a risk assessment e.g. proactive approach, at client’s request, an audit is required etc.

How are these assessments beneficial for businesses?

Injuries have a large impact on the individual as it impacts their quality of life and can cause individual suffering.

It impacts the businesses as it has ongoing effects on productivity.

There are also other health related costs associated to the injury if deemed work related, and possible workers’ compensation costs.

Risk assessments and task analysis are conducted to identify risks related to completing a job task.

From these assessments, recommendations are made based on the hierarchy of control to ensure a safer work environment and to minimise risk of injury for future.

Hierarchy of control

Report of recommendations

Recommendations are made based on the task analysis and the findings are discussed with relevant stakeholders and mangers.

Implementing recommendations may take time, especially if a large change is recommended.

The physiotherapist will often include short and medium term recommendations as well as recommendations from each hierarchy if possible.

To learn more about these assessments or discuss requirements please contact us.

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