Pre-Placement Ergonomics

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  aprw287 4 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #36954

    tannett
    Participant

    I would like to know if anyone can provide information for Pre-placement testing on Warehouse employees that drive a reach truck and a picker and also perform Manual Material Handling of boxes from racks and using a manual pump truck.  Specifically I am looking at what pre-placement testing is appropriate for this type of work.

    Thanks,

    #39087

    JMH26
    Participant

    Hi Tim,

    When I develop a preplacement screen, I examine what the tasks require the body/person to do.  Specifically, you want to measure the range of reaches, the forces required to push levers, how much force is needed to pump the pallet jack handle. Also, the frquency of the actions is essential.  Weight of all materials/cartons is needed.

    You will then examine all the tasks, and select the most demanding and develop the screen test around those.  

    Testing the ability to drive a reach truck or tow motor is extremely difficult, and may be impossible.  But perhaps use of some of the assessments used in driver education/rehab may be of assistance here.

    Once you have developed the screen , you should then have as many current workers as possible be subjects for the test.  This will allow you to get their feedback and will give you more internal validity.

    Jim Herzog

    Jim Herzog

    Occupational Therapist

    #39163

    sdrier
    Participant

    If you are concerned about developing a test that meets all legal criteria and gives you guidelines so you don’t do something you shouldn’t, consider looking into a protocol such as Worksteps – they have an entire network of providers and LOTS of background to help you with this area that can become quite sticky legally – http://www.Worksteps.com 

    Shirley, OTR/CHT

    #39184

    chris_studebaker
    Participant

    We generate a lot of pre-placement tests for various industrial settings, some of which are done onsite and involve the actual work itself.  The re-creation of these tasks is fairly easy, the hard part is gauging whether or not the prospective employee can withstand the cumulative effect of a job over the course of time.  It is tough to pre-test repetitive tasks.
      One issue with these tests is whether or not they would allow an employer to make a hiring decision regarding the employee being tested.  If the prospective employee fails the test does that mean he or she does not get the job?  In theory these tests should protect the employer from having to hire an employee that can not lift 50lb for instance, but in practice I have to wonder how messy that would get in a court if the person sued.

    Chris Studebaker
    Concentra Medical Centers

    #39324

    Gene
    Participant

    US Federal enforcement of EEO laws has been somewhat lax over the past 8 years.  More than half the experienced attorneys in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division resigned over the last several years.  With a new administration, enforcement actions should escalate. 

    As with any test, the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures, the APA Standards and the SIOP Principles must be followed.  I know of no test that has successfully withstood a legal challenged that had no formal validation study. 

    Regardless of whether your strategy is content or criterion-related, it is important that your sample size be adequate to attain an adequate representation of the applicant population.  Merely testing a sample of current employees is generally inadequate.  The job analysis method should employ multiple strains of data collection methods.  Critical incident techniques and task inventory approaches are the most commonly utilized.  

    Simple work samples, if not subjected to a formal reliability analysis, can produce unstable scores.  Regardless of whether you ultimately decide on a work sample or more construct-pure test, reliability should be established. 

    To ensure your test is valid, a measure of work performance is necessary.  How this information is obtained, the quality of the information, its reliability, and how feasible it is to measure is also of great concern. 

    You should become very familiar with the legal environment.  The controlling laws are the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 1991.  The ADA, even with the recent modifications passed by Congress, has little to due with legal challenges to these tests.  Two good cases to study closely are the US v. City of Erie and US v. SEPTA.  In the former case, the employer prevailed on the basis of multiple validation studies.  In the latter case, the employer’s test was not validated and failed to meet the basic requirements established by SIOP.

    Gene Carmean

    Gene Carmean
    Projects Director
    MED-TOX Health Services
    3350 Shelby Street, Suite 200
    Ontario, California 91764

    #40915

    aprw287
    Participant

    HI – I see some great responses here – My advise as both an ergonomist and Physiotherapist is to ensure you use a well established protocol – with both validated tests and reliability tested methods etc.

    In Canada we of course have to take things a step further (our American cousins respectfully think of us as a socialist type country which I would have to agree with when it comes to employment related rules and regulations for certain; I digress) and have to abide by Human Rights (Federally) and Human Rights (Provincially); Employment Law and union guided Collective Agreements when determining protocols.

    Having said this I think this has resulted in some excellent post offer (we cannot do pre-employment screening in Canada) screening protocols which truly are fair for the employees & play a role in injury prevention.

    I think that if you go with the right protocol – and base it on a true Bona Fide based task analysis – then you will be all set.  We are in the midst of developing just such a protocol for a major airline in Canada – the part of the testing which will be of interest will be the mental and cognitive demands which we will test for along with the physical and physiological demands.  I can let you know how that proceeds as the project moves along

    JE Sleeth

    Optimal Performance Consultants Inc

    j.sleeth@Optimalperformance.ca

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