A recent email question:

I have a question being asked as to what frequency someone can walk up stairs. The client climbed them with a 67% work rate. Can I equate this to an occasional level?

The short answer is yes.

The longer answer is that the PACE or WORK RATE or HOW FAST an evaluee walks up stairs doesn’t directly equate to them being able to meet the job demand of Occasional stair climbing.

The purpose of the Stair Climb test is to observe the evaluee climbing to determine if they have any limitations to climbing stairs. The purpose of timing the test is to compare the evaluee’s climbing pace to the normal climbing work rate (pace) as determined via Method Time Measurement (MTM) analysis.

If the evaluee scores at 100% of the normal work pace, this would provide solid supporting evidence that the person has no limitations to climbing.
If the evaluee scores less than 100% of the normal work pace, then the evaluator needs to determine WHY?

What are the possible explanations for the client climbing slower than normal?

a) Poor effort – thus your conclusion may be that the evaluee has no limitations.
b) Physical limitation – thus your conclusion may be that the evaluee is unable to meet the stair climbing job demand.
c) Poor conditioning – thus your conclusion may be to implement a gradual return to work program.
d) Poor technique – thus your conclusion may be that the evaluee needs some physical retraining to improve their technique and use the proper muscles to complete climbing, this could be done in a work conditioning or work hardening program.
e) Climbed slowly due to fear of injury.

All of the above are contingent on the evaluee having no medical restrictions or contra-indications to performing climbing.

Consideration should also be given to where in the Occasional range the job demand lies. If it is approaching the upper end of 33% of the work day, a climb test of a longer duration may be required. The purpose of the longer climb test is to observe any possible limitations that didn’t appear in the short climb test and to look at muscle fatigue and endurance.

What else would you consider?