A brief critique of physiological employment standards for physically demanding public safety occupations
Keywords:Body mass, Energy costs, Fatigue, Intra-individual variation, Misclassification, Predicted aerobic fitness, Prolonged activity, Task reactivity
Background. The time to complete occupational circuits, estimates of maximal aerobic power and simple measures of muscle strength are currently used as employment standards where the safety of the public is judged at risk.
Purpose. To make a brief critique of the procedures presently used with a view to identifying on-going weaknesses in assessments.
Methods. Analysis has focused upon issues of task reactivity, task duration, test components and test accuracy, with particular reference to assessments of maximal aerobic power.
Results. Test reactivity may exaggerate apparent job requirements. Current tests are of a few minutes duration; extrapolation to longer periods of activity are limited by inter-individual differences, including a possible greater tolerance of prolonged activity in women.
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