Job Analysis & Validation: The Cornerstone for Injury Prevention, RTW, and EEO Compliance Strategies

Job Analysis & Validation is the cornerstone of strategies, decisions, and actions across the employment lifecycle.

A Message from WorkSTEPS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ben Hoffman

Job Analysis & Validation:The Cornerstone for Injury Prevention, RTW, and EEO Compliance Strategies


·        Job Analysis & Validation is the cornerstone of strategies, decisions, and actions across the employment lifecycle.

·        Job analysis & validation yields a number of critical benefits, including: the ability to develop accurate job descriptions and postings; enabling better employee-job fit; informing safe and timely return-to-work decisions; identifying opportunities to re-engineer difficult job tasks when appropriate to open the job up for broader employment; improving EEO compliance; and reducing disparate impact discrimination claim risk.

·        As part of a comprehensive and integrated injury prevention strategy, job analysis & validation is foundational to a Total Worker Health approach.

·        For more information about compliance and litigation risks, please request our Q&A with Biddle Consulting Group and in an interactive webinar, offered on 11/8 and 11/10.

The Cornerstone

If you’re like me, when you encounter an old building that you admire – perhaps a monument, government building, or ancient place of worship – you look for a cornerstone where you will often find carved into the stone the building’s year of construction. But historical reference wasn’t the primary function of the cornerstone in old structures. Before the advent of modern construction techniques, the cornerstone was the first stone set in a masonry foundation, establishing the orientation and level of the entire structure. All of the building’s remaining stones would be set in reference to the cornerstone.

 With that image in mind, consider that – for organizations that employ people in physically demanding jobs – Job Analysis &Validation is the cornerstone of strategies, decisions, and actions that impact safety, productivity, and compliance & litigation risk across the employment lifecycle.

Benefits of Job Analysis & Validation

Job analysis is the process through which an organization measures and documents the physical demands of the essential functions of a job. Validation is the process of linking measures of those physical demands(e.g., physical ability tests) to the essential functions to demonstrate the job-relatedness of the measures. Understanding and documenting these demands yields benefits for a range of decisions and actions:

·        Accurate Job descriptions: Develop job descriptions that accurately reflect the physical demands of a job.

·        Accurate Job postings: Create job postings that are accurate and will do a better job attracting candidates who are more likely to be a good fit.

·        Potential to expand the labor pool: Compared to outdated or arbitrary assumptions about the physical demands of a job, accurate and up-to-date information that accounts for newer processes, mechanical assists, and robotics can enable job descriptions/postings that open opportunities to more workers.  

·        Better fit / job placement: Implement post-offer employment testing (POET) protocols that fairly evaluate a person’s ability to safely perform the essential functions of a job, informing job placement.

·        Better-informed return-to-work: Implement fitness-for-duty testing to inform return-to-work decisions following an injury, illness, or furlough.

·        Opportunities to re-engineer work: Valid information about job requirements can inspire and inform efforts to reduce job demands, reducing injury risk and expanding the eligible pool of workers who can safely perform the job.

·        Stronger compliance: Comply with federal Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures.

·        Stronger defense against discrimination claims: Reduce the likelihood of and strongly defend against charges of disparate impact discrimination that may arise if a job candidate believes they have been unfairly excluded from a job opportunity. In an environment where EEO standards are rising and enforcement is tightening, having up-to-date job analysis and validation studies is critical to reduce compliance and litigation risks.

Foundational to Total Worker Health

We believe strongly that a comprehensive and integrated approach to injury prevention, including job analysis and validation, is foundational to Total Worker Health. Viewing the benefits mentioned above through the lens of Total Worker Health, we see better job fit, a reduced chance of injury and related disability and mental health impacts. We also see insights from the job analysis &validation process leading to changes in policies, programs, practices, and work environments that can improve worker safety, productivity, health, and job satisfaction. Further, we see the need/opportunity for collaboration among heads of HSE, Risk and HR functions, a critical enabler of Total Worker Health progress.

Action Steps

If your organization has not consistently performed or maintained job analysis and validation studies, you’re not alone. Here are some suggestions to help move your organization in the right direction:

·        Learn: Request a copy of our Q&A with Biddle Consulting Group – Assure Compliance and Reduce Discrimination Claim Risk with Job Analysis & Validation and, sign up to attend webinar with Biddle on November 8 or 10.

·        Engage your colleagues across functions: Job analysis & validation impacts decisions and actions over the employment lifecycle and across organizational silos. Share this article and the Q&A mentioned above with leaders from HSE, Risk, and HR functions, coordinate to attend the upcoming webinar, and plan to discuss implications and action steps.

·        Do a status check: Form a small, cross-functional team and evaluate current job descriptions against the actual physical demands of essential job functions. Be sure to sample jobs indifferent plant and field locations, and include jobs that may have been impacted by recent changes in workflow, mechanization, or robotics.

·        Give us a call: WorkSTEPS, in partnership with Biddle Consulting Group, is a leader in job analysis & validation, as well as development of job descriptions and functional testing protocols (POET and Fit-for-Duty) based on validation studies.

 As always, if you have questions, comments, or ideas, click here and share your thoughts.

 Be well,

 Dr. Ben

Ben Hoffman, MD, MPH

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Newsletter written by WorkSTEPS CMO Dr. Ben Hoffman and WorkSTEPS’ expert medical team.