Fitness standards are becoming common practice in industry and the emergency services. Such standards are used by the Fire and Rescue services, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the Military amongst others. These standards include measures of strength, endurance, anthropometrics, flexibility, motor skills and cardiac and metabolic fitness.

The main benefit to introducing a fitness standard into the workplace is to ensure that an employee is physically capable of completing the essential tasks of the job to at least the minimum acceptable standard, thus the risk of employing physically unfit individuals in physically demanding jobs is minimised, and the associated human and economic effects (e.g. through injury) are reduced. Furthermore, standards ensure selection is based solely on ability to complete the essential tasks and is therefore fair and unbiased. The Energy Institute (EI) is the professional body for the energy industry, delivering good practice and professionalism across the sector. On behalf of the EI’s Health Technical Committee (HTC) work was undertaken by the University of Portsmouth (Department of Sport and Exercise Science) to provide an introduction to fitness standards and to make recommendations for a minimum fitness standard for the Oil and Gas Industry (OGI).

The findings of this work are presented in the EI’s 2010 publication ‘A recommended fitness standard for the oil and gas industry’. Minimum standards have been evaluated based on the essential tasks with a significant physical fitness component e.g. manual handling, casualty handling and ladder/stair climbing. The evidence-base for the standards is contained within the report, as is guidance on administering the tests. The report does not provide guidance on policy issues or implementation strategies as this is considered to be a matter for individual companies.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.