Physical Employment Standards—Is “Legally Defensible” the Same as “Morally Defensible?”

by Anthony Walker
TSAC Report April 2015
Vol 45, Issue 1


While no recruitment process will ever be perfect, it is time to address the “legal defensibility” of physical employment standards as the primary consideration in developing recruitment guidelines that are concurrently designed to increase workplace diversity.

Paywall block issue

This article is not configured properly for members or paid content.
isMemberOnly: {{isMemberOnly}} | isPaidContent: {{isPaidContent}}
spc: One or more parts of the product SPC is missing.

Read the full article

View the video

Login to view more

{{discountDesc}} Valid thru {{discountEnds}}

This {{ogType == 'video.other' ? 'video':'article'}} is available with a NSCA membership

This {{ogType == 'video.other' ? 'video':'article'}} can be purchased for {{prices}}
Price includes membership pricing and promotions

Purchase this {{ogType == 'video.other' ? 'video':'article'}}. Price range: {{prices}}
Price range includes membership pricing and promotions

Become a Member Add to Cart Login

This article originally appeared in TSAC Report, the NSCA’s quarterly, online-only publication geared toward the training of tactical athletes, operators, and facilitators. It provides research-based articles, performance drills, and conditioning techniques for operational, tactical athletes. The TSAC Report is only available for NSCA Members. Read more articles from TSAC Report 



1. Cheung, SS, McLellan, TM, and Tenaglia, S. The Thermophysiology of Uncompensable Heat Stress: Physiological Manipulations and Individual Characteristics. Sports Med 29: 329359, 2000. 
2. Fullagar, H, Sampson, J, Mott, B, Burdon, C, Taylor, A, and Groeller, H. Employment standards for Australian urban firefighters, Part 4: Physical aptitude tests and standards. J Occup Environ Med 57: 1092-1097, 2015. 
3. Gastin, PB. Energy system interaction and relative contribution during maximal exercise. Sports Med31: 725-741, 2001.  
4. Gendron, P, Freiberger, E, Laurencelle, L, Trudeau, F, and Lajoie, C. Greater physical fitness is associated with better air ventilation efficiency in firefighters. Appl Ergon 47: 229-235, 2015. 
5. NFPA. Third Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service Conducted in 2010 and including comparisons to the 2001 and 2005 needs assessment. NFPAFAaR Division, ed. Quincy, MA, 2011. 
6. Payne, W and Harvey, J. A framework for the design and development of physical employment tests and standards. Ergonomics 53: 858-871, 2010. 
7. Perroni, F, Cignitti, L, Cortis, C, and Capranica, L. Physical fitness profile of professional Italian firefighters: Differences among age groups. Appl Ergon 45: 456-471, 2014. 
8. Petersen, SR, Anderson, GS, Tipton, MJ, Docherty, D, Graham, TE, Sharkey BJ, and Taylor NA. Towards best practice in physical and physiological employment standards. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 41: S47-S62, 2016. 
9. Poplin, GS, Roe, DJ, Peate, W, Harris, RB, and Burgess, JL. The association of aerobic fitness with injuries in the fire service. Am J Epidemiol 15: 149-155, 2014. 
10. Poston, WSC, Haddock, CK, Jahnke, SA, Jitnarin, N, and Day, RS. An examination of the benefits of health promotion programs for the national fire service. BMC Public Health 13: 805, 2013. 
11. Stevenson, RDM, Wilsher, P, and Sykes, K. Fitness for fire and rescue: Standards, protocols and policy. Winford, UK: FireFit Steering Group, 2009. 
12. Walker, A, Driller, M, Argus, C, Cooke, J, and Rattray, B. The ageing Australian firefighter: An argument for age based recruitment and fitness standards for urban fire services. Ergonomics 57: 612-621, 2014.

About the author

Anthony Walker

Contact Anthony Walker

Contact Anthony Walker

Your first name is required.
Your last name is required.
Your email is required.
Your message is required.
Your reCaptcha is required.

Your email was successfully sent to Anthony Walker

View full biography
#NSCAStrong #NSCAStrong

has been added to your shopping cart!

Continue Shopping Checkout Now