The utility of strength testing in the identification of workers at higher risk for medical incidents on jobs with strength requirements in excess of their abilities was reported. Subjects were taken from workers assigned to production jobs in an aluminum smelting facility (SIC-3339). These test subjects were given nine strength tests which simulated job performance requirements. Strength tests administered to 309 males and 35 females included high far lift, push down, floor lift, pull in, arm lift, pull down, back lift, push out, and high near lift. These corresponded, respectively, to the following job operations: lift pneumatic hammer, handle pot rake, lift lining, handle pot rake, lift wheel, handle hand jack, lift steel hook, handle pot rake, and lift huck gun. Significant differences were observed overall between the average abilities of males and females to perform these tests, with females scoring lower. However, smaller or no differences were observed at the lower side of the range scores for males and females, with the exceptions of the floor lift and pull down tests. Females at the lower end of the range outscored comparable males in the push down, the back lift, and the push out tests, and equalled their male counterparts in the pull in. Employees from the weak end of the range analyses suffered significantly more work related injuries in eight of the nine test categories. Employees from the weak test groups experienced the highest incidence of musculoskeletal problems in six of the nine test categories. These results suggested that in those cases where redesign of work stations is not feasible, an interim solution to the problem of work related morbidity is to establish a program for selecting workers based on their ability to perform the strength requirements of their jobs.
Symposium on Occupational Safety Research and Education, Division of Safety Research and Division of Training and Manpower Development, NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 82-103