The development of a functional and valid physical employment assessment standard for NSW Mines Rescue Brigadesmen
Given the physical demands of mining and rescue operations, a physical employment standard was warranted to ensure capable workers are selected. While evaluations of muscular strength and muscular and cardiorespiratory endurance domains are common, assessment of a worker’s ability to meet the physically demanding postural requirements is often neglected.
The aim of this investigation was to develop a valid assessment for NSW Mines Rescue Brigadesmen that replicated the combined muscular and cardiorespiratory endurance and postural demands of constructing a timber pillar.
Oxygen consumption (VO2) was measured and dominant postures identified when incumbent Brigadesmen constructed a timber pillar. A shelf-stacking assessment was designed and validated.
When Brigadesmen performed the block placement role, the task elicited a mean VO2 of 1.6 L.min–1, and required repeated placement of ∼8.7 kg blocks from 0 to 3.0 m. A shelf stacking assessment (5 min, mean VO2 1.7 L.min–1) replicating dominant postures and requiring repeated block placement at 0, 0.65, 1.10, 1.64 and 2.20 m was developed. The demand of the test, performed within a discontinuous circuit, was subsequently verified (1.6 L.min–1).
A valid, physiological aptitude test that considered the job-related movement patterns, in addition to cardiorespiratory and muscular endurance requirements, was developed for Brigadesmen.