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Hard Work: Defining Physical Work Performance Requirements focuses on physically demanding occupations that require strength and stamina, such as law enforcement, structural and wildland firefighting, mining, forestry, and the military. It is the first book to examine the relationship of recruitment practices, physical training, and physical evaluation to the intricate environment of corporations, labor organizations, the legal system, and employment rights.
Hard Work assists readers in making intelligent and informed decisions resulting in a safer, healthier, and more productive work force. Authors Brian Sharkey and Paul Davis have spent more than 70 years combined researching worker performance in physically demanding professions. Hard Work brings their perspective as exercise scientists to an examination of these factors:
Work requirements and capacity for physically demanding jobs
Physical characteristics of the “athlete-worker,” including aerobic and muscular fitness
Test development, validation, and utilization in employee selection
Employee health and job-related fitness
Environmental factors affecting employee performance, such as heat, cold, and altitude
Respiratory protection and lifting guidelines
Legal aspects of employment, consequences of legal decisions, and a proposed alternative to litigation
By using case studies and real-life examples of tests and programs, the authors teach readers how to evaluate recruits and maintain employee health and safety. The book also includes nine appendixes offering valuable perspectives on testing, job-related fitness, policies, procedures, and performance assessment.
Hard Work: Defining Physical Work Performance Requirements is organized into five parts. Part I begins with definitions of the physically demanding occupation and characteristics of workers available for employment. The legal aspects of employment are also considered, including reference to age, gender, race, and disability.
Part II examines the value of initial and periodic evaluations, the test development process, and issues related to testing. Additionally, part II contains an examination of the effects of court decisions and labor unions on the evaluation processes of both new and incumbent employees.
Part III discusses implementation of recruit testing designed to determine those individuals who can and cannot perform the job. The inherent challenges in shifting from recruit testing to periodic tests for incumbents are described, and ways to evaluate the costs and benefits of testing and training programs are examined.
In part IV, the values and limits of medical examinations and employee wellness programs are considered. Part IV also discusses work physiology and its relationship to performance and presents the job-related physical fitness program as the essential element required for preserving career-long performance and health.
Part V discusses employee performance in extreme environments, respiratory protection devices and their impact on the worker, and guidelines designed to reduce the risk of back injuries. It concludes with an examination of legal issues and a proposed alternative to litigation using a collective approach that avoids confrontation and biased testimony and saves taxpayer money.
Hard Work: Defining Physical Work Performance Requirements suggests how workers could benefit by working up to job requirements while maintaining their health, safety, and job performance. This unique text seeks to bring about a paradigm shift wherein workers are viewed as occupational athletes who, aided by effective recruitment, testing, and training, receive the necessary support to help them excel in their physically demanding workplace.
A reference for
occupational physiologists, graduate students, physicians in occupational
medicine, managers and employees in physically demanding occupations, city
and agency personnel specialists, judges, lawyers, expert witnesses,
personnel in state and federal labor and justice departments, and those
who write and interpret employment laws.
Brian J. Sharkey, PhD, is a physiologist in the Technology and
Development Center at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Forest Service in Missoula, Montana, where he researches fitness,
health, and work capacity. Previously, Sharkey
served as director of the University of Montana’s Human Performance
Laboratory and remains associated with the university and lab as
As a leading fitness researcher, educator, and
author, Sharkey has more than 40 years of experience in
both exercise and work physiology, including research with wildland
firefighters. For contributions to the health,
safety, and performance of firefighters, Sharkey received the USDA’s
Superior Service Award in 1977 and its Distinguished Service Award in
Sharkey is a past
president of the AmericanCollege of Sports Medicine and served on the
NCAA committee on competitive safeguards and medical aspects of sports,
where he chaired the Sports Science and Safety subcommittee, which uses
research and data on injury to improve the safety of intercollegiate
athletes. He also coordinated the United States Ski Team Nordic Sports
In his leisure
time, Sharkey enjoys cross-country and alpine skiing, road and mountain
biking, running, hiking, and canoeing. He lives near his grandchildren
in Missoula, Montana.
Paul O. Davis, III, PhD, is the
president of the First Responder Institute in Burtonsville, Maryland,
where he has conducted job and medical standards development for
hundreds of public safety and military organizations. He is a former
firefighter/paramedic and as a member of the Fire Board of Montgomery
County responsible for the development of definitive medical care
outside of the hospital.
As an expert witness, Davis has made more than 60 appearances in federal
and state court and was recruited by the FBI to participate in legal
defense of physical standards. He was also selected by the United States
Marine Corps to validate the physical fitness test (PFT) and to conduct
certification of the physical training unit staff at the FBIAcademy at Quantico,
Virginia. Most recently he was engaged by the Department of Homeland
Defense to develop hiring and retention standards for the reorganized
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE-D). He is the creator of
several TV sports productions including the Firefighter Combat Challenge
providing color commentary on ESPN, A&E, and the Versus network.
Davis is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. He
received his PhD in exercise science in 1976 from the University of Maryland.
Work: Defining Physical Work Performance Requirements, Drs. Brian J.
Sharkey and Paul O. Davis have now provided an excellent scientific
examination of the role of physically intense work on the worker who
performs arduous and often dangerous occupations. How to test
prospective employees and incumbents as well as legal issues are dealt
with in a very professional and valid manner. This text is useful for
supervisors and workers who wish to understand hard work in the
physically demanding performance professions.”
-Dr. Al Morris, FACSM,
Director of Health Improvement and Physical Fitness Programs for the United
States Border Patrol