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Physical Demands Analysis (PDA)

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What is a physical Demands Analysis?

A Physical Demands Analysis, sometimes called a Job Demands Analysis, is a thorough evaluation of the the physical, cognitive, and sensory demands of a particular job, as well as documentation of environmental factors.  A job differs from an occupation in that job demands can vary from employer to employer for the same occupation. The Physical Demands Analysis is useful in identifying key attributes required for job candidates, which can be assessed during Post Employment Offer Testing (POET) or a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE). Moreover, they are useful in identifying limitations when orchestrating Graduated Return to Work plans for injured workers.  They can also help identify safety concerns and lead to new more efficient and safer procedures.

Among the various demands that can comprise a specific job, the Physical Demands Analysis commonly assesses:

  • The frequency and duration of positional requirements (sitting, standing, crouching, and kneeling, etc.).
  • The frequency and required forces of material handling (lifting, carrying, pushing, and pulling, etc.).
  • The frequency and duration of repetitive and sustained reaching.
  • The required manual dexterity and tools.
  • The required upper and lower limb coordination.
  • The required safety equipment.
  • Environmental factors e.g. exposure to cold, vibration, confined spaces, etc.
  • Sensory requirements e.g. color discrimination.
  • Stress and other cognitive demands.
  • The mobility requirements e.g. walking and climbing.

Benefits of a Physical Demands Analysis:

  • Quantified physical and cognitive job demands.
  • Facilitates safe and progressive return-to-work planning.
  • Can identify safety concerns
  • Ideal for job matching with potential candidates.
  • A detailed report in easy-to-read format.
  • Employees are educated to reduce the risk of physical injury on the job.



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