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Hard Work:Defining Physical Work Performance Requirements / Edition 1

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: J. Thomas Pierce, MBBS PhD(Navy Environmental Health Center)
Description: This is an athletic-based (or exercise-based) means of looking at the features of hard, physical work. It asks the most central of all occupational questions, "What is required to perform a series of physical tasks in order to maintain one's job?" While this question may seem obvious, it has only rarely been raised in any sort of logical manner and even less frequently addressed. This book's subtitle provides an additional view of what it is all about.
Purpose: The authors have sought to write the first book of its kind in order to educate broad groups of professionals and other workers about the best means of evaluating demanding jobs, the process of test development and validation, and the principles of employee selection. They go on to provide additional data and useful approaches to employee health, physiology, and subsequent job-related performance.
Audience: They have attempted to appeal to physiologists, physicians, and other healthcare providers, managers and employees, the government and legal communities and legislative staffs.
Features: The book is divided into five major sections of three to four chapters that move through job description, employee testing and selection, physiology, and certain job-related issues. Part IV is representative of the authors' approach. This part addresses employee health in terms of standards development, program costs, the physiology of work (written in terms of the properties of muscles, oxygen, and energy sources) and issues of job-related fitness. The appendixes pass along information for readers who want to know more about a specialized topic, such as work output as a function of selectivity in the hiring process.
Assessment: This is the best scientific book I have read in five years. It masterfully describes what is known about physical work requirements, but defers what is not well understood to future research efforts. What is best about the book is that its authors don't back off complexities because medicine, law, and exercise science must be blended, along with other subjects. The photographs, along with the boxed case studies and vignettes, are outstanding. The authors' broad experience level is unmistakable in this book's execution.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780736065368
  • Publisher: Human Kinetics Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/22/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,233,086
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

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 professor emeritus.

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 1993.

Sharkey is a past president of the American College 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 Medicine Council.

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 FBI Academy 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.

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Table of Contents

Part I: The Job and the Worker

Chapter 1: Physically Demanding Occupations
Hard Work
Work Requirements
Work Capacity

Chapter 2: The Worker
Physical Characteristics of Workers
Aerobic Fitness
Muscular Fitness
Demographic Trends

Chapter 3: Employment Opportunity
Employment Laws
Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures

Part II: Test Development and Validation

Chapter 4: Job-Related Tests
Why Test?
Testing and Legal Issues
Test Development

Chapter 5: Test Validation
Content Validity
Criterion-Related Validity
Construct Validity
Validation Options
Reliability and Cross-Validation
Bona Fide Occupational Qualification
Absolute Standards
Test Standards
Suboptimal Selection Procedures

Chapter 6: Test Implementation
Seeking Professional Assistance
Personnel Issues
Implementation Strategies

Part III: Employee Selection Practices

Chapter 7: Testing New Employees
Medical Standards
Safety Considerations
Pretest Training
Work Hardening

Chapter 8: Testing Incumbent Employees
Age and Performance
Physiological Age
Periodic Testing
Providing Adequate Notice
Medical and Safety
Fitness Training
Test Results

Chapter 9: Program Evaluation
Surveillance System
Analysis: Quantitative and Qualitative Information
Cost-Benefit Analysis
Reporting Results

Part IV: Employee Health, Physiology, and Performance

Chapter 10: Employee Health
Developing Medical Standards
Employee Health Programs
Costs and Benefits of Employee Health Programs

Chapter 11: Physiology of Work
Muscle Fibers
Muscle Contractions
Energy Sources
Oxygen and Energy
Supply and Support Systems
The Training Effect

Chapter 12: Job-Related Fitness
The Job-Related Fitness Programs
Aerobic Fitness
Muscular Fitness
Core Training
Periodizing the Training Plan
Body Composition
Program Issues
Risks and Benefits

Part V: Job-Related Issues

Chapter 13: Environmental Impacts
Heat Stress and Heat Disorders
Preventing Heat Disorders
Cold Conditions
Altitude Acclimatization

Chapter 14: Respiratory Protection
Respiratory Hazards
Respirator Selection
Medical Evaluation
Work Performance
APRs and Women

Chapter 15: Lifting Guidelines
Lifting Standards
NIOSH Lifting Equation
Selection and Training

Chapter 16: Legal Issues
Legal Challenges
Unintended Consequences
Court Decisions
Alternative to Litigation

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