Physical employment standards for UK Firefighters: minimum muscular strength and endurance requirements

Richard Stevenson, Andrew Siddall, Philip Turner, James Bilzon

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Objective: To assess sensitivity and specificity of surrogate physical ability tests as predictors of criterion firefighting task performance and to identify corresponding minimum muscular strength and endurance standards. Methods: Fifty-one (26 male; 25 female) participants completed three criterion tasks (ladder lift, ladder lower, ladder extension) and three corresponding surrogate tests (One-repetition maximum (1RM) seated shoulder press; 1RM seated rope pull-down; repeated 28 kg seated rope pull-down). Surrogate test standards were calculated that best identified individuals who passed (sensitivity; true positives) and failed (specificity; true negatives) criterion tasks. Results: Best sensitivity/specificity achieved were 1.00/1.00 for a 35 kg seated shoulder press, 0.79/0.92 for a 60 kg rope pull-down and 0.83/0.93 for 23 repetitions of the 28 kg rope pull-down. Conclusions: These standards represent performance on surrogate tests commensurate with minimum acceptable performance of essential strength-based occupational tasks in UK firefighters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-79
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2017


  • Physical employment standards; firefighting; muscular strength; muscular endurance; physical fitness; sensitivity and specificity.


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