[IPAC-List] Measuring Fear of Heights

Howard Fortson Howard at cps.ca.gov
Sat Jun 26 14:20:45 EDT 2010

I would think to be fair, they would need all the training that a bridge painter, or what ever classification, gets before they are expected to climb as well as becoming accustomed to climbing other structures. I don't think anyone is expected to do "the job" without training unless that is supported in your job analysis. If so maybe running a trainee level classification (helper) might be the ticket. I think that is where the rub will be.
On Jun 26, 2010, at 10:58 AM, Durovic, Jerry wrote:

> Kevin,


> 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

> service examiner.


> 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

> (518) 474-1863




> -----Original Message-----

> 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

> encountered this...


> 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.



> Kevin Reindl

> Sr. People Research Advisor

> San Diego Gas & Electric

> Human Resources

> 8306 Century Park Court, CP41A

> San Diego, CA 92123-1530

> Tel: 858-654-1823

> Fax: 858-654-1515

> Email: kreindl at semprautilities.com<mailto:kreindl at semprautilities.com>


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