Job Descriptions: The Work Comp Playbook For Employers

Written job descriptions are no longer just hiring tools. While they are still valuable in regards to screening prospective hires, today job descriptions play an important function in employee training and career development, as well as for performance management, discipline, outlining working conditions, and essential job function analysis.

It is also recommended that job descriptions include a physical demands analysis (PDA). A PDA is, as defined by Humantech, “a document that describes the physical and environmental exposures that are required by employees in order to complete job tasks.” They can be used, as stated by the Industrial Accident Prevention Association, responsively or preemptively. When used responsively, they can help to rehabilitate injured workers and aid in the return-to-work process, and they can be used preemptively in order to mitigate the risk of potential injury. Without a PDA, doctors will have to rely solely on the employee’s account, which could potentially hinder the workers’ compensation and return-to-work process.

Job Descriptions and the Return to Work Process

According to Entrepreneur, job descriptions can be beneficial for return-to-work programs because it will allow you to create a smoother transition from a temporary leave or workers’ compensation injury. A PDA, in particular, will help you to better communicate a job’s demands to medical services and other appropriate parties, which will greatly assist with rehabilitating any injured workers. In addition, a PDA can provide data to help with job matching and accommodating injured workers, and will help to identify replacement work or modified work that would better suit the worker’s’ physical capabilities.

Job Descriptions and the New Hire Process

Naturally, it is important that prospective employees have an understanding of the job they are applying for. If PDAs are implemented as part of the new hire process, it will help you to put people into jobs for which they are physically suited.

Job Descriptions, the ADA, and the FLSA

Job descriptions also help to play an important part in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLDA). According to HR Daily Advisor, the ADA requires that disabled individuals be physically able to perform the job’s “essential functions” (the duties which the person holding said job must be able to perform) in order to be covered by the act. Many ADA cases result in issues with determining which job duties are essential, so a job description that clearly outlines the essential job functions will prevent such cases from occurring. Job descriptions also play an important role in determining “exempt” and “nonexempt” status under the FLSA. In cases of determining whether or not a position has exemption status, many companies solely use the job description, which means that having an accurate account of the job’s duties is extremely important.

About Compass RMS

The risk management firm Risk Management, Inc. has specialized in workers’ compensation since 1996, creating the CWCP (Certified Workers’ Compensation Professional) program in 1999 and the P4 process in 2000. We launched our Compass Risk Management platform in 2008 and recently released version 4.0. For more information about our services, give us a call at (888) 519-6690 to speak with one of our consultants.