Job Analysis Tools

Physical Abilities Analysis Methodology

Physical abilities analysis is a job analysis approach specifically designed to elicit and assess the physical demands of jobs.

The foundation of the MED-TOX job analysis methodology is in the description of human behavior during physically demanding work (specific job tasks) and the linkage of that behavior to human factors (physical abilities). These physical abilities have been identified from several research-based disciplines including exercise physiology, human factors, industrial psychology and medicine (See: Myers, DC, et al., (1993). The dimensions of human physical performance: factor analyses of strength, stamina, flexibility, and body composition measures. Human Performance , [6] {4}. Our approach identifies verifiable and observable elements of the job (tasks) and links these tasks to specific physical abilities.

Examples of tasks and their physical ability measures are shown in the the following pdf files. The password to open each file is "medtox."

The MED-TOX approach incorporates measures of task frequency and task criticality in compliance with the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures. The ADA, while not requiring the use of the Guidelines, implicitly requires these measures as being necessary for the determination of essential job functions. The results of the physical abilities analysis can be used to link medical guidelines (or physical ability measures) to each job. The 22 physical abilities utilized include the following:


Strength Abilities

Static Strength,  Explosive Strength,
Dynamic Strength,  Trunk Strength
Extent Flexibility,  Dynamic Flexibility
Body Movement

Stamina,  Body Coordination, Equilibrium,
Speed of Limb Movement
Use of Arms and Hands

Arm-Hand Steadiness,  Manual Dexterity,
Finger Dexterity,  Multi-Limb Coordination
Visual Abilities

Near Vision,  Far Vision,
Peripheral Vision,  Color Vision
Hearing Abilities

Hear-Quiet,  Hearing-Noise,
Hearing- Location,  Hearing-Discrimination

One advantage to using the physical abilities analysis method is that evey job task can be linked to several valid and reliable physical ability tests. This provides physicians and employers with improved means of assessing individuals for physically demanding work. A second advantage is that if an employer's decision is challenged in an administrative proceeding or in a court case, MED-TOX documentation of the job's demands can be critical. Click here and here to see how MED-TOX job information has been critical in helping employers prevail in employment disputes.

Working Conditions Analysis Methodology

Developing appropriate medical screening protocols and making sound placement decisions must involve an assessment of the environmental hazards and working conditions of the job.

Environmental hazards, for example, are often of more use in selecting appropriate medical screening tests than are knowing the physical demands of a given job. Consider the chest x-ray. Chest x-rays are not recommended for routine medical screening for any population according all leading authorities. However, in the work place, such screening may be justified if employees are to be placed in occupations with significant respiratory hazards (such as firefighting and law enforcement). In these cases, it is very useful for occupational medical professionals to know what environmental hazards are present in jobs, since several respiratory conditions are related to these hazards. Similarly several skin conditions can be aggravated by exposure to ultraviolet light or even water, oil, or grease. Therefore, knowing what environmental hazards are present for a given job can provide significant benefits to the employer and to the occupational medical screener.

For an example of a Working Conditions Profile, click the link below. The password to open the pdf file is "medtox."

Without without an understanding of a job's working conditions it is very difficult to make sound medical or physical employment decisions for prospective applicants with hearing disabilities, skin conditions, heart conditions, a history of cancer and most other medical conditions. A clear understanding of the environment in which job duties are performed is an occupational medical necessity. The working conditions that are utilized in the MED-TOX job analysis include the following:

Working Conditions
Environmental Hazards Analysis

Inside Video Display Terminals
Outside Job Complexity
Low Temperature Changes Role Ambiguity
High Temperature Irregular Work Hours
Sudden Temperature Changes Violent or Combative Persons
Low Humidity Allergenics
High Humidity Infections
Wetness, Rain & Snow Blood & Body Fluids
Heights Chemical Irritants
High Altitude Nuisance Dusts
Noise Asbestos Dust
Vibration Inorganic Dusts or Powders
Oil or Grease Organic Dusts
Body Injuries Metals, Metal Fumes or Metal Powders
Burns Industrial Gases
Electrical Hazards Solvents
Awakward Body Positions Corrosive Substances
Slippery Surfaces Petrochemicals & Coal Derivatives
Ionizing Radiation Pesticides
Non-ionizing Radiation Plastics
Underground Smoke from Fires
Moving Objects Respirators
Driving Explosive Materials or Equipment