An integral part of defending or prosecuting a workers’ compensation or personal injury case requires a determination of the claimant’s physical and mental essential job demands or identifying health hazards that may cause a work-related illness.
Having a medical expert with the skills and experience in performing Job Site Analysis (JSA) is invaluable.
Dr Fletcher has the experience in going to the work site and making a determination of the physical and mental demands of a particular job to provide opinions regarding a claimant’s ability to return to work, as well as on causation.
Dr. Fletcher has extensive experience in job site evaluations to make certain employees work in a safe and healthful environment. He makes determinations about preventive measures and other controls to overcome any identified workplace hazards.
In his career, Dr. Fletcher has evaluated more than 350 work site locations throughout the State of Illinois, including to several wall-to-wall investigations for employers.
Dr. Fletcher is available to come to a facility to perform a JSA on one job or evaluate the entire workplace for ergonomic and environmental hazards.
Why is Job Site Analysis (JSA) Important?
- Offers an objective basis to provide an opinion on causation in the case of a claimant who is alleging a musculoskeletal condition from cumulative trauma or an occupational illness from a workplace exposure.
- Assists in determining if the employee is ready to return to work, if job modifications are needed, and to identify physical demands that need to be focused on, in a work-hardening program.
- Establishes job demands to help design off-site job simulation in a work-hardening program or for a post-job offer functional screening exam by defining the strength and positional demands required with specific job tasks to ensure a claimant or a new hire have the physical capacity to meet the critical demands of the job.
- Provides insight to identifying psychological factors that may impact returning to work.
- Determines if there is a health hazard in the facility that may cause occupational illness.
- Provides recommendations to reduce or mitigate workplace exposure to chemicals or noise.
What is Dr. Fletcher’s Approach to Job Site Analysis (JSA)?
Dr. Fletcher’s approach to JSA reflects his training in epidemiology and toxicology, when he obtained his MPH degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1982.
As a board-certified occupational and environmental medicine physician trained in epidemiology, Dr. Fletcher looks at people, place, and time factors that cause human illness and injury.
When being retained for a JSA to make a determination on causation of a particular job, Dr. Fletcher will ask if other workers have presented with similar complaints (people factors). He will also request a written job description that outlines the essential job demands of a position.
If Dr. Fletcher is asked to perform a JSA to make a determination about a workplace hazard causing an environmental illness, such as a chemical or noise exposure, he will review OSHA 300 logs, medical surveillance records, noise exposure data, exposure air sampling, and MSDS sheets prior to visiting the worksite. This review will allow him to learn more about the frequency, intensity, and duration of exposure, which are very important toxicology principles to offer opinions on causation.
If necessary, he will work alongside other occupational and safety professionals, such as industrial hygienists, biomechanical engineers, and safety professionals to provide the most comprehensive analysis of the worksite and risks potentially associated with a job.
Dr. Fletcher’s Comprehensive Steps for Conducting a JSA:
- Meet with management to review his preliminary analysis of the job demands and how it may relate to a claimant’s job.
- Request that the claimant be part of the actual JSA process to provide a person-specific ergonomic assessment of job demands, since individuals have varying anthropometric statures and sizes that impact the outcome of a JSA.
- Break a job down into smaller tasks and observes a worker (ideally the claimant) performing said tasks.
- Evaluate the job(s) for body positioning, frequency, repetition and force exertion associated with the various job tasks.
- Determine working conditions, such physical environment, job schedule, personal protective equipment requirements, and condition of equipment/machinery used.
- Use additional assessment tools, such as strain gauges, to determine forces involved in job tasks and other ergonomic survey tools to analyze potential hazards associated with jobs.
- Compare the employer’s written job description to his own observations.
- Obtain additional information or assistance from an industrial hygienist to order air quality sampling or noise exposure analysis.
- Prepare a comprehensive report, including photographs, that provides opinions on causation, return to work, recommendations for addressing identified ergonomic problems, and reducing environmental exposures to prevent disease and injury.
So Why Dr. Fletcher for a JSA?
Retaining Dr. Fletcher offers tremendous value. He can evaluate the physical demands of a specific job and develop a specific medical exam to assress the employee’s ability to perform the essential functions of the job, and whether or not reasonable accommodations need to be made.
In many cases, a client is only required to retain one expert with Dr. Fletcher, as he can conduct an Independent Medical Exam (IME) and also perform a Job Site Analysis (JSA) to make determinations about nature and extent of an injury, causation, and ability to return to work.
Dr. Fletcher’s extensive OSHA medical surveillance background and experience make him uniquely qualified to provide opinions on the health and ergonomic hazards of the workplace. He has had considerable training in ergonomics and environmental medicine.
Since 1990, Dr. Fletcher has had extensive experience working with the meatpacking industry, the only industry that is regulated by OSHA with a specific ergonomics standard. In August 1990, OSHA published the “Ergonomics Program Guidelines for the Meatpacking Industry” (1) with input from the American Meat Institute (AMI).
His dual understanding of toxicology and epidemiology particularly suits his ability to evaluate Building Related Illness (BRI), also known as “Sick building syndrome”. He has conducted mold exposure and sick building syndrome epidemiological investigations for several clients, including the City of Huntley (mold exposure) and Sherman Hospital (mold exposure) in Elgin, Illinois. (See “Anatomy of a Sick Building Syndrome Investigation”.)
Dr. Fletcher has also worked with National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program that helps employees, union officials, and employers learn whether health hazards are present at their workplace and recommends ways to reduce hazards and prevent work-related illness and injuries.
The HHE program is at no cost to the employer or employees. NIOSH conducts studies of workplaces in response to these requests to learn if workers are exposed to hazardous materials or harmful conditions. Workplace exposures studied include chemicals, biological agents, work stress, noise, radiation, and ergonomic hazard.
Dr. Fletcher can make a recommendation about the need for a Health Hazard Evaluation, as well as help facilitate a request for a HHE.
Dr. Fletcher is always ready to vigorously defend his opinions and is able to testify either by deposition or a trial.