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Taylor N.A.S.,University of Wollongong | Fullagar H.H.K.,University of Wollongong | Mott B.J.,Fire and Rescue New South Wales | Sampson J.A.,University of Wollongong | Groeller H.,University of Wollongong
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine | Year: 2015

Objective: This communication is the first of four describing the development of defensible firefighter-selection tests. The purpose was to identify a subset of essential, physically demanding tasks performed by contemporary urban firefighters. Methods: From existing procedural documentation and job analyses, 11 fire-station visits and interviews with 106 firefighters, and one focus-group meeting, 31 physically demanding tasks were identified and incorporated into a workforce survey. Using this tool, firefighters rated the importance, perceived difficulty, typical task durations, and annual performance frequency of each task. Results: Data from 989 respondents were analyzed, enabling a consolidation of these tasks into a subset of essential activities. Conclusions: These processes yielded a content-valid list of 15 essential, physically demanding tasks covering the full width of duties performed by urban firefighters from Australia's largest fire and rescue organization. © 2015 American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Source


Fullagar H.H.K.,University of Wollongong | Sampson J.A.,University of Wollongong | Mott B.J.,Fire and Rescue New South Wales | Burdon C.A.,University of Wollongong | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine | Year: 2015

Objective: Firefighter physical aptitude tests were administered to unskilled subjects and operational firefighters to evaluate the impact that testing bias associated with gender, age, activity-specific skills, or task familiarity may have upon establishing performance thresholds. Methods: These tests were administered in sequence, simulating hazmat incidents, ventilation fan carriage (stairs), motor-vehicle rescues, bushfire incidents, fire attacks, and a firefighter rescue. Participants included two unskilled samples (N=14 and 22) and 143 firefighters. Results: Firefighter performance was not significantly different from the unskilled subjects. Participants from both genders passed the test, with scores unrelated to performance skill or age; however, familiarization significantly improved performance when the test was repeated. Conclusion: These outcomes confirmed this test to be gender-, age-, and skill-neutral. Familiarization effects could be removed through performing a single, pre-selection trial of the test battery. © 2015 American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Source


Groeller H.,University of Wollongong | Fullagar H.H.K.,University of Wollongong | Sampson J.A.,University of Wollongong | Mott B.J.,Fire and Rescue New South Wales | Taylor N.A.S.,University of Wollongong
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine | Year: 2015

Objective: In this third communication, the processes for converting criterion occupational tasks into bona fide pre-employment selection tests are presented using urban firefighters as the worked example. Methods: A total of 14 individuals participated in potential screening tests that targeted three loaded movement categories: single-sided load carriage (4 tests), dragging loads (2 tests), and overhead pushing and holding objects (5 tests). Results: Seven tests emerged, one performed as an isolated pass/fail barrier test (ladder raise) and six incorporated into a sequential, timed circuit simulating hazmat incidents, ventilation fan carriage (stairs), motor-vehicle rescues, bushfire incidents, fire attacks, and a firefighter rescue. Conclusion: Because three tests provided predicted performance speeds to replicate the oxygen cost of firefighters performing the corresponding occupational simulations, notional performance thresholds could be projected and recommended for the final phase of this research. © 2015 American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Source


Taylor N.A.S.,University of Wollongong | Dodd M.J.,Fire and Rescue New South Wales | Taylor E.A.,University of Wollongong | Donohoe A.M.,Fire and Rescue New South Wales
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine | Year: 2015

Benchmark data were sought for evaluating injury trends within Australian firefighters. Methods: Work-related injury data from Australia's largest urban fire and rescue organization were analyzed (2003 to 2012), with an emphasis on classification (occurrence, mechanism, agency, nature, and location) and demographic details. Results: Firefighters were injured on 6997 occasions (177 injuries per annum per 1000 full-time employees). The largest causal mechanism was muscular stress (74 injuries per 1000 full-time employees annually), with 62.1% of those incidents involving materials handling and slips, trips, and falls. No single mechanism could explain more than 20% of the injuries. The principal injury type involved sprains and strains. The most commonly injured sites were the knee, lower back, shoulder, and ankle. Conclusions: These observations provide a basis for intervention strategies that target sprains and strains associated with materials handling and slips, trips, and falls. © 2015 American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Source


Tannous W.K.,University of Western Sydney | Whybro M.,Fire and Rescue New South Wales | Lewis C.,Fire and Rescue New South Wales | Ollerenshaw M.,Fire and Rescue New South Wales | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Safety Research | Year: 2016

Introduction In 2014, Fire & Rescue New South Wales piloted the delivery of its home fire safety checks program (HFSC) aimed at engaging and educating targeted top "at risk" groups to prevent and prepare for fire. This pilot study aimed to assess the effectiveness of smoke alarms using a cluster randomized controlled trial. Methods Survey questionnaires were distributed to the households that had participated in the HFSC program (intervention group). A separate survey questionnaire was distributed to the control group that was identified with similar characteristics to the intervention group in the same suburb. To adjust for potential clustering effects, generalized estimation equations with a log link were used. Results Multivariable analyses revealed that battery and hardwired smoking alarm usage increased by 9% and 3% respectively among the intervention group compared to the control group. Females were more likely to install battery smoke alarms than males. Respondents who possessed a certificate or diploma (AOR = 1.31, 95% CI 1.00-1.70, P = 0.047) and those who were educated up to years 8-12 (AOR = 1.32, 95% CI 1.06-1.64, P = 0.012) were significantly more likely to install battery smoke alarms than those who completed bachelor degrees. Conversely, holders of a certificate or diploma and people who were educated up to years 8-12 were 31% (AOR = 0.69, 95% CI 0.52-0.93, P = 0.014) and 24% (AOR = 0.76, 95% CI 0.60-0.95, P = 0.015) significantly less likely to install a hardwired smoke alarm compared to those who completed bachelor degrees. Conclusions This pilot study provided evidence of the benefit of the HFSC in New South Wales. Practical Applications: Fire safety intervention programs, like HFSC, need to be targeted to male adults with lower level of schooling even when they are aware of their risks. © 2015 National Safety Council and Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

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