Ergonomics & Accesibility: Maximize Efficiency of your Resources

By now, most companies are at least familiar with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA, 2005). You likely think of it relating to Customer Service, as this was the first standard to become law. However, you may be less familiar with the other 3 standards: Information and Communications, Employment, and Transportation; all of which are combined under the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR). This regulation is also now law, and the standards are being phased in between 2011 and 2021.

One question you should ask: is your company employing ergonomics to comply with these standards? Ensuring your company has objective Physical Demands Assessments can be an integral part of complying with the AODA & IASR. PDAs objectively identify the physical & cognitive demands, of a job. Most importantly, a good quality PDA will accurately and objectively identify essential duties of a job. This lays the groundwork for several sections of the Employment Standard, in particular those related to recruitment & selection, accommodation plans and return to work processes.

A quality PDA will provide your organization with objective information about the job tasks to include in job descriptions and job postings, as well as highlighting areas that should to be considered for accessibility. This data may also be used to provide input when developing testing in the interview process (e.g. presentations, written assignments, competency assessments, etc.) to ensure that interviews are justly based on the essential duties of the job.

A PDA is a fundamental component in an effective return to work program and accommodation plans. When demands of a job are objectively documented, it becomes easier to determine if an employee returning to work from an injury or illness can be accommodated into their pre-injury job or if an alternate accommodation is more suitable.

To further maximize your resources, a PDA could also be used to enhance your Health & Safety program. For example, since a PDA provides general information on safety hazards in a job, it makes a good reference document when conducting an ergonomic or safety risk assessment.

If PDAs are not something your organization currently has completed, getting started on a database of jobs at your facility would be a cost-effective way to ensure you can easily meet the compliance requirements of the Accessibility standards, as well as enhance your overall health & safety program. Itís a win-win all around!

More details on the Employment Standard (and Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation) can be found at: www.mcss.gov.on.ca

Contact PROergonomics for questions relating to this monthís article, references or available tools and resources: info@proergonomics.ca

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