The sensitivity of a military-based occupational fitness test of muscular strength
The risk of low back pain and injury during manual materials handling is increased if personnel are not physically capable of safely performing such tasks. To establish predictive relationships and develop a test cut-score, 69 participants performed a critical military lifting task to a 1.5-m platform (pack lift) and two task-related predictive tests (box lift to 1.5 m and 1.3 m). The pack lift was strongly correlated with both the 1.5-m (R2 = 0.85) and 1.3-m box lifts (R2 = 0.82). Both tests had similar sensitivity (range 0.85-0.94) with the 1.3-m test having higher specificity when compared with the 1.5-m lift. Increasing the test cut-score with the application of a safety factor increased the number of false positives and true negatives for both tests. Organisations must carefully assess their risk acceptance when applying safety factors to test cut-scores as the classification (pass/fail) of personnel may be affected.