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59 particularly for the larger transit agencies, the agencies In addition, CTA buses have a 400-lb limit for the cited below may conduct other testing that respondents driver's seat, so applicants for bus operator positions were not aware of. Nonetheless, the descriptions do cannot exceed 400 lb in weight. provide illustrations of different possible approaches to physical ability testing. B. Denver Regional Transportation District542 Tests in use range from relatively simple fit test- Per agency policy, Denver Regional Transportation ing--that is, conducting tests to literally determine District (www-rtd-denver.com/) (RTD) has implemented whether the applicant can fit comfortably in the driver physical ability testing requirements for rail and bus compartment; make necessary adjustments to the seat, operators, mechanics, service and cleaning employees, steering wheel, and mirrors' and safely operate controls sign maintainers, rail laborers, track maintainers, and as required--to tests designed by industrial medicine farebox workers. The tests are intended to reduce work- professionals to measure physical ability. related injuries by ensuring that applicants and em- ployees have the physical ability to perform specific A. Chicago Transit Authority541 essential job tasks that have been shown to cause inju- The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) (www.transit ries. chicago.com/) has begun a process of measuring job ap- The agency contracted with a physical therapy and plicants' physical capability compared with physical job rehabilitation group to develop and administer the demands using isokinetic testing. For each covered po- tests, which are criterion-based. The contractor used job sition an ergonomist performed a job evaluation and descriptions and direct observation to break down the quantified movements required for essential job func- movements required to perform essential job tasks that tions. The screening test is performed by a consultant may lead to work-related injury. The contractor then who uses isokinetic equipment to measure the job ap- determined the required force or flexibility needed to plicant's ability to make the required movements. The perform those tasks. The tests are performed using physical areas tested are limited to the back, knees, and physical therapy equipment that measures the force or shoulders, the areas where most on-the-job injuries oc- flexibility needed for each required task. Bus and rail cur. Applicants who do not receive a passing score on operators are tested for strength, agility, and sit-and- the test are not eligible to proceed with the hiring proc- reach ability; mechanics are tested for those abilities ess. Thus far there has been a 7 percent failure rate. and grasping ability. Testing requirements for those CTA is unaware of any legal challenges to this testing and all other positions tested are based on specific job program in the approximately 30 months it has been in requirements, including being able to physically make operation. the required movements for the job (e.g., squeeze into a Thus far the positions of bus operator, trackmen, and tight space, fit through a manhole, climb ladders, etc.). several other positions are subject to screening. CTA's The tests are used as a screening mechanism before goal is to have a total of 10 positions certified for this a conditional offer of employment is made. Physical isokinetic screening by the end of 2010. The screening is ability tests are also required if an employee is in- not used for return-to-work due to the agency's collec- jured--whether or not the injury is work-related--and tive bargaining agreement. From a physical perspec- is out of work for more than 30 days or requires surgery tive, CTA believes they are getting a higher quality of due to the injury. Sick leave alone is not a trigger for applicants since members of the applicant pool have physical ability testing. become aware of these new requirements. As of November 2009, there had been no legal chal- CTA also requires additional physical ability testing lenge to Denver RTD's physical ability testing program. during training for jobs with specific strenuous physical Workers' compensation costs have been reduced by 50 requirements. These tests are generally conducted us- percent over 5 years. ing actual job equipment. For example, if a job requires an employee to lift a 100-lb bucket as a job requirement, C. Intercity Transit543 that lifting will be included as a mandatory require- Intercity Transit, Olympia, Washington (www.inter ment during training. Conducting this testing during citytransit.com/Pages/default.aspx), conducts a short fit the training process allows CTA to ensure that proba- test as a screening for potential bus operators. The test tionary hires are trained on the appropriate techniques is conducted once annually when the agency accepts for performing lifting and other potentially difficult new operator applications. Using in-service buses and tasks. Probationary hires that are not able to perform vans, the agency requires candidates to demonstrate the physical requirements after training are not re- that they can fit in the driver compartment (adjust the tained. seat and mirror) and that they can kneel down and se- 542 Information based on RTD's response to TCRP Question- 541 Information based on CTA's response to TCRP Question- naire and telephone interview with Jim Jacobsen, RTD Man- naire and telephone interviews with Larry Wall, General Man- ager of Wellness & Rehabilitation, Nov. 9, 2009. 543 ager, CTA's Wellness Services, Nov. 20, 2009, and Dec. 10, Information is based on telephone interviews with Ed 2009. Ruttledge, HR Manager, Nov. 2, 2009.