Bernie Goldie

Conference targets standards for physically demanding jobs

The University of Wollongong’s close ties with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) were demonstrated when the two organisations co-sponsored an international conference on physiological standards for physically demanding occupations.

The inaugural Australian Conference on Physiological and Physical Employment Standards was held recently at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Leading scientists from around the world attended the conference, which focused on the development, implementation and justification of physiological employment standards within demanding occupations, such as the military and the emergency services, but also within private-sector jobs such as mining and heavy industry.

Associate Professor Nigel Taylor (UOW) and Dr Dan Billing from DSTO’s Human Protection and Performance Division organised the conference, which featured keynote speakers from Australia, Great Britain, Canada, Israel and the US.

The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel (Warren Snowdon), Chief Defence Scientist Dr Alex Zelinsky and UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings CBE all spoke during the conference opening session, welcoming delegates from 10 countries. Guest speakers included the Chief of Army (Lieutenant General David Morrison), the Commissioner of Fire & Rescue NSW (Greg Mullins) and the Assistant Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police (Leanne Close).

The conference dealt with a range of issues concerning the way national and civil organisations require workers to operate in physically demanding conditions, and how those organisations deal with maintaining operational capability while ensuring workplace safety and non-discriminatory work practices.

UOW’s Centre for Human and Applied Physiology in the School of Health Sciences has been working closely with DSTO on a project designed to support the development of Physical Employment Standards for the Australian Defence Force.

The work has significant implications for all prospective recruits and existing personnel, as it will lead to the establishment of standards that will affect entry and cross-trade transfers, and establish age and gender-neutral standards that will both increase operational capability and reduce injuries.

UOW had five scientists embedded within DSTO from 2009 to 2012. At present, three post-doctoral fellows are working on this collaborative project, with five doctoral scholarships soon to be offered. The contracts associated with this work have brought $3.6 million into UOW.


More men die in bushfires ...
The Conversation | 27 Nov
Tax reform debate is full of ren...

Sydney Morning Herald | 25 Nov
Learn how to make body parts

The Australian | 25 Nov
Cherry on top: summer fruits ...
The Conversation | 24 Nov
Partners in crime: why do we ...
Sydney Morning Herald | 20 Nov
Properties under fire: why so...

The Conversation | 20 Nov
Tablets and laptops to be com...
ABC News | 19 Nov
Turning Up the Heat on Shap...
MDT Mag | 19 Nov
Look beyond the obvious when...
Sydney Morning Herald | 19 Nov
Crowd-Mapping Jakarta's Flo...
Fast Co-exist | 18 Nov
Learn to use criticism and ne...
Daily Telegraph | 17 Nov
How to create more awesome... | 16 Nov
Your questions answered o...

The Conversation | 16 Nov
Australian research shows th...
SMH | 14 Nov
Climate change: the heat is on...
2SER | 6 Nov
More media coverage

  • UOW’s Centre for Human and Applied Physiology has been working closely with DSTO on a project designed to support the development of Physical Employment Standards for the Australian Defence Force. Photo: Lauren Black, Defence Digital Media