[IPAC-List] Measuring Fear of Heights
Jerry.Durovic at cs.state.ny.us
Sat Jun 26 13:58:33 EDT 2010
Many years ago, my supervisor told me what he had to do to test for
bridge painters in Philadelphia, NY. The painting task was easy, the
ability to climb up to the top of the various bridges and paint the
bridge at those heights was the issue. He said his test consisted of
bringing the candidates to one of the bridges, asking them to climb up
the bridge part-way, paint a big X with a large paint brush and a can of
grey paint, and come down. His test administration issues included
having to arrange for the fire department to be present to safely bring
down any candidate who might freeze on the bridge, etc.; having the
police department block off traffic and do crowd control around the test
site, etc. He said that he always feared a local paper headline that
would say "unemployed, father of five, plummets to death in the river
taking a civil service test". My supervisor also said that in difficult
economic times, many people would come to the test: some froze before
they went up and withdrew, others started up and froze quickly and were
safely brought down easily, while others might make it all the way up
and then froze -- this posed the most difficult challenge.
While I have never confronted this situation, and do not know if
Philadelphia still tests for bridge painters; however, it is a
fear-of-heights issue that was told to me by an experienced civil
In addition, in New York City my cousin was a union electrician that
worked on new construction high-rise (skyscraper) buildings. He told me
of the steel workers who are putting up the steelwork at incredible
heights and walking around up there without safety harness, etc. Again,
this was many years ago and I do not know what is done today.
Somehow I do not think simulators will do the job; however, they might
be a good pre-screen.
Hope the preceding helps.
Jerry Durovic, Ph.D.
Chief Personnel Examiner
Jerry.Durovic at cs.state.ny.us
From: Reindl, Kevin [mailto:KReindl at semprautilities.com]
Sent: Friday, June 25, 2010 3:19 PM
To: ipac-list at ipacweb.org
Subject: [IPAC-List] Measuring Fear of Heights
I thought this might be a good question to pose to the IPAC list, since
I'm sure many of the firefighter selection experts out there have
Does anyone do any type of assessment/test that measures someone's fear
of heights? We have been grappling with this for a while. We have some
positions at a few of our companies that require employees to climb
externally mounted stairs to the top of storage tanks (up to 200 feet).
We've considered a pre-employment assessment where we simply ask
candidates to actually perform this task. However, the concern for
safety has always been a barrier.
Any thoughts/advice/experiences would be greatly appreciated.
Sr. People Research Advisor
San Diego Gas & Electric
8306 Century Park Court, CP41A
San Diego, CA 92123-1530
Email: kreindl at semprautilities.com<mailto:kreindl at semprautilities.com>
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