March newsletter:

JDA vs. ERA - What do you need?


Ergonomic services can vary greatly and are always dependent on the client’s wants and needs. And let’s be honest, sometimes determining what service is required can be challenging or it might require a customized solution to address all the elements.

We are going to attempt to de-mystify this a bit by comparing two common assessment requests that we receive regularly: Job Demands Assessments (JDA) and Ergonomic Risk Assessments (ERA). Keep reading as we delve a little further into each of these and help make you a more educated consumer.

Job Demands Assessment (JDA)

job hazard assessment

Also known as a Physical and Cognitive Demands Assessment (PDA/CDA), a JDA objectively defines the physical (e.g. mobility, postural, strength) and cognitive (e.g. memory, attention to detail, deadline pressures) requirements of a job. This includes documentation of the essential duties and functions of the job and the frequencies at which they are performed. In essence, this process is taking the ins and outs of a job and putting it on paper.

Most often, a JDA is used during the accommodation and disability management process. This document provides OHNs, doctors and other healthcare practitioners, insurance companies, WSIB, and other parties with the physical and cognitive requirements of the injured worker’s position. Once reviewed, these groups can work together to: 1) develop gradual and modified work plans for injured employees, 2) develop job accommodations, and 3) guide rehabilitation processes.

The one thing to really keep in mind is this: although a JDA may shed light on the ergonomic “dangers” that exist in a job, it does not evaluate risk or attempt to solve any ergonomic issues.

Ergonomic Risk Assessment (ERA)

ergonomic risk assessment

An ERA also quantitatively documents job requirements, specifically looking at it in terms of identifying hazards, assessing the severity of these hazards, and developing control solutions to mitigate their risk of injury. There are some similarities to a JDA; however, the ERA’s purpose is not focused in return to work, its goal is to lessen the risk of workers developing a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) from exposure to ergonomic hazards.

The thing to ask yourself when trying to decide if an ERA is needed is this: “am I trying to change this job for the better?’. If the answer is yes, an ERA may be what you need.

Combining the Two:

The most cost-effective way to ‘have it all’ is to do them at the same time. Since we gather the same data for a PDA/JDA that we do for an ERA, completing them both simultaneously is often the way to go.


Not sure about any other acronyms or services we offer – send us an email at info@proergonomics.ca and ask. We are happy to discuss your needs and determine which of our services is a match or what customized options could consider.

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