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How HR Can Assess Safety Critical Roles


In the latest in our series of posts on occupational testing terminology, we introduce tests of everyday attention and TEA-Occ - a test for safety critical roles in the workplace.

The original Test of Everyday Attention (TEA) was developed by Robertson, Ward, Ridgeway and Nimmo-Smith in 1994 to provide an assessment that is sensitive to selective attention, sustained attention and attentional switching, when used in clinical settings.

The areas assessed by the Test of Everyday Attention (TEA) provide coverage of the independent attentional systems in the human brain that serve different functions related to everyday behaviour.

It can be used to identify different patterns of attentional breakdown.

The TEA has a wide range of applications, from patients with Alzheimer’s disease to young healthy subjects.


About the TEA-Occ

The Test of Everyday Attention for Occupational Assessment (TEA-Occ) has been developed from the TEA - it enables recruiters of safety critical roles to quickly determine whether an applicant possesses the required level of attention.

This is an important requirement for jobs where demonstrable levels of concentration are required - TEA-Occ is widely used during train driver and signaller recruitment and also has application for bus and coach drivers, heavy goods and machinery operators and road and construction workers.      

TEA-Occ is a paper based assessment and is administered to individuals or groups under supervised conditions.


It contains three sub-tests:

1. Lift Counting With Distraction

Candidates imagine they are in a lift in which the floor indicator is broken. They must establish which ‘floor’ they have arrived at by counting a series of low tones.

Distraction is provided by also presenting high tones - this is a test of auditory selective attention.

2. Telephone Search

Candidates must look for key symbols while searching through pages in a simulated telephone directory containing a list of plumbers

3. Telephone Search While Counting

Candidates search a telephone directory containing a list of restaurants while simultaneously counting strings of tones.

Completion of the above sub tests provide valid and reliable information about a respondent's attention capability, with significance for safety critical roles.


Read an earlier post about Learning Styles in the workplace.








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