Comparison of physical demanding paramedic work tasks between an Australian and Canadian ambulance service

Jacinta Waack, Ben Meadley, Cameron Gosling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Ambulance services require candidates to pass physical employment tests (PETs) to be deemed suitable for the paramedic role. Whilst some research has been undertaken to improve to relevance of these tests, they are often arbitrary and not based on research. The first phase in developing PETs is to generate a list of job tasks. To examine the utility of universal physical tasks tests for ambulance work, we conducted a cross-sectional study, utilising the results from previous work in a Canadian ambulance service to create a physical tasks checklist. These lists were then used by paramedics working for an Australian Service to identify physical tasks in their workplace, and the results from the two services were compared. Patient transfer tasks were similar in frequency and description for both services. Stretcher handling and manoeuvring was identified by Canadian paramedics as highly strenuous, (mean rating of perceived exertion (RPE) 7/10) but were rated mean RPE <3/10 by AV paramedics. Although some tasks between these two services were similar, the ambulance services in this study differed sufficiently with regard to equipment, training and policies mean that similarly titled jobs are not comparable, cross-nationally. Service specific job task analysis is required to develop PETs that ensure employees are specifically selected to meet the requirements of that service.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103905
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • Cross-national comparison
  • Paramedics
  • Physical employment standards
  • Physical employment tests
  • Task demands

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