Friday, October 13, 2017

Changing the Dialogue from Off-Task to Consequence of Error

A lot of representatives ask the generally worthless question: assuming the person is off task 20% of that day, can that person work?  I can't really blame them, a lot of ALJ's ask the same throw away question as a placebo to the claimant.  The question is rarely quantified or supported in the record in any meaningful manner.  But what we want to do is ask a question where we can get some data.

Data is the bane of the vocational expert's existence.  Data robs vocational experts of discretion.  Data strips out the ability of the wayward vocational expert from making stuff up.  We have data from the O*NET OnLine that addresses Consequence of Error.

First, develop the record about mistakes.  This could come in the form of serial 7's or 3's, inability to recall items, or other items from a mental status examination.  Developing the record from the claimant or a third party about mistakes made in activities of daily living will assist the quest.  And then start in on the vocational expert in cross-examination.
How important is accuracy in the occupations identified?
Does there exist any data about the consequences of error in the occupations identified? 
There are data and we have a mission.
 If we assume that the person identified in ALJ hypothetical question #1 made mistakes in the work functions 10% of the workday, would that person be subject to progressive discipline and eventually fired?  
I prefer a minimalist approach so I ratchet that question down.
Assume that person made one mistake per day, every day, that the employer could not remedy immediately.  Would that person be subject to progressive discipline and eventually fired?  Once per week, every week, week in and week out.  Same question.  
What does the data show?  One of larger groups of occupations is helpers, production workers, SOC 51-9198.  The Occupational Outlook Handbook, in data for occupations not covered in detail, describes the work:

  • 2014 employment: 419,200
  • May 2016 median annual wage: $24,830
  • Projected employment change, 2014–24:
    • Number of new jobs: -16,100
    • Growth rate: -4 percent (Decline)
  • Education and training:
    • Typical entry-level education: No formal educational credential
    • Work experience in a related occupation: None
    • Typical on-the-job training: Short-term on-the-job training
  • O*NET:
  •  Note the link to the O*NET OnLine.  We go there.  Running a custom report for work context and scrolling down (CTRL-F error - faster!), we find:

    Consequence of Error — How serious would the result usually be if the worker made a mistake that was not readily correctable?
    18     Extremely serious
    24     Very serious
    27     Serious
    15     Fairly serious
    16     Not serious at all
    It looks like 84% of jobs have at least fairly serious consequences for the first mistake.  Most of occupations (69%) have a greater degree of consequence of error rating (serious to extremely serious).
    Assuming that the Employment Training Administration and the Department of Labor have published reliable governmental data, could the person that isn't just off task but makes mistakes that cannot be readily corrected on a chronic basis, just once a week, keep this kind of job?
    The answer is, "No."   Drop the off-task mantra and focus on consequence of error.

    1 comment:

    1. Nice work, Larry.
      I'd also add a fruitful excursion into JobBrowser Pro for Temperaments, like in Document Preparer, that call for "T - Situations requiring the precise attainment of set limits, tolerances, or standards." Tighten the screws on the VE.