Job Rotation

Administrative control and organizational strategy used to reduce continuous exposure to musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) hazards.

NOTE: Job rotation on its own is not an effective MSD hazard control.

  • Use job rotation as a secondary control measure after evaluation of more effective solutions - follow the hierarchy of controls
  • Job rotation requires intentional planning and consistent application
hierarchy of controls diagram


  • Positive impact on employee job satisfaction
  • Reduces monotony and boredom
  • Develops skills with training on more jobs
  • Increases understanding of the overall process/workflow
  • Job rotation schedules including jobs of low MSD risk may be helpful in achieving an equal level of risk exposure between workers
  • Reduces the duration of exposure to MSD hazards
  • Could create variation in physical demands and recovery time for different body areas
  • Reduces human error and improves quality
  • Increases flexibility to account for staffing changes and absenteeism


  • Exposes more workers to the MSD hazards
  • Job rotation schedules including jobs of high MSD risk may not reduce the effect of high-risk job(s) on MSD injury risk
  • Job rotation as the only control measure may not change overall MSD injury risk between low-risk, medium-risk and high-risk jobs
  • Does not work well if physical demands and MSD risks at body areas are similar for jobs within the rotation schedule
  • Dependent on buy-in from management and workers
  • Difficult to maintain consistency and fairness in schedule when accommodating for individual factors and absenteeism

Tips for creating effective rotation schedules 

Developing job rotation schedules can be a complex task due to many factors:

job rotation schedule diagram


  1. Improve job design to eliminate and/or control MSD hazards and risk exposures:
  • RACE (Recognize hazards, Assess for risks, Control/eliminate risks & Evaluate solution)
  • Prioritize elimination, substitution and/or engineering controls
  • Include workers in development of solutions for buy-in and to improve safety culture
  1. Identify MSD risks/physical demands within jobs by body area:
  • Introduce variation by rotating workers between jobs with tasks requiring different physical demands
  1. Understand worker capabilities:
  • Job-fit: account for workers’ physical & cognitive limitations
  1. Ensure workers are trained:
  • Train workers on all jobs within rotation
  • Increase worker cross-training to account for absenteeism
example of job rotation between different jobs


Do you want to download this resource?
Job Rotation (2 page PDF)