Task Mapping of Jobs and Work Activities / Risk Assessment

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The task mapping and job risk/ergonomics activity includes an examination of the production process used by local commodity or product producers, their family members, and/or other hired workers.
The task mapping includes an examination of the major tasks and activities performed in the work or production process with a focus on the work performed by children and youth, and the subsequent pain and trauma associated with the performance of each task. The work performed includes two areas of study, a mapping of production tasks and associated activities, and identification of tasks that result in risk of an acute or chronic pain and/or injury.

Study Team

The primary investigator should be very knowledgeable of the targeted community and the where possible the industry sector that is to be studied. The primary investigator should consider utilizing the assistance of local community representatives. Local community or country representatives provide valuable assistance with community entry, advising on local customs and protocols, and local language translation assistance. Further, given the very rural and isolated nature of some communities, transportation and navigation assistance is invaluable.

Care in Interviewing Children

Special considerations should be given when interviewing children to ensure confidentiality and avoidance of retaliation of employers, who in some cases may be parents or other guardians. Interviews taking place away from the job site or listening range of a person who is an authority figure at work for the child is important. Avoidance of leading questions is also critical.

Communities Visited

Communities that are representative of the industry, production or work sector being studied should be identified. A cross section of communities may be needed if there are varying approaches in the production process. Based on a review of profiles of the top producing communities, a sampling of the representative communities should be selected. Communities selected should: 1) provide a full geographic representation of the targeted area to be studied, 2) include communities that are representative of the gender and ethnic makeup of the working population of children and youth, and 3) include communities that have a significant number of migrants (if migratory workers are a part of the work or production process).

Interview Process and Selection

An adequate number of days should be allotted for the task mapping and job risk/ergonomics analysis. This will include field interviews, focus groups, and direct observations. This requires the use of primary and secondary research methods, including key informant interviews, focus group discussions, and data collection. Interviews in selected communities, with an emphasis on children and youth based on gender, school participation, and intensity of employment must be included. Site observations of work activities help to develop an overall impression of the extent of work and tasks children and youth perform in the production process. The use of a participatory / informal approach with focus groups and interviews helps to relax children, who readily share information about their work activities, their feelings following the performance of tasks, and any injuries or accidents that they experienced related to their work.
At the onset of visiting a community, meetings are held with community leaders to explain the purpose of the study and to request permission to interview the children and youth. While time consuming, this is a critical and important step in the process. The selection of children and youth is based on the criteria of targeting children aged 9 to 17 and those that work predominately in the targeted work or industry sector. Whenever possible, particularly in small village /communities, all children that meet the criteria and are available are interviewed. Focus groups are held with children of similar age, gender, school participation using a participatory approach. Individual interviews are conducted with a small number of children and youth following the focus group discussions that have experienced accidents or injuries to determine the nature and extent of the injuries and their relationship to the work activity. Additionally, admissions data from the local community health facility and hospital, if available, is collected.
Interviews are conducted with a significant sample of individuals, male and female, between the ages of 9 and 32, with a majority being children and youth between the ages of 9 and 17 years. Interviews are conducted with adults, as well as youth, in order to triangulate results for accuracy. This is done to determine if the activities, and the manner in which the activities are performed, are the same for adults as for youth performing the same job. This is done to determine if the children and youth: 1) perform activities in the same manner and follow the same approach to work performance as adults; 2) share similar experiences with respect to how they feel following the work activities and the types of accidents and injuries incurred; and 3) if the same or similar protective gear, if any, is used.

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