This paper examines the processes involved in the establishment of a minimum occupational fitness standard, with particular reference to the interplay that inevitably occurs between objective measurements and subjective decisions. The areas considered include: the determination of the critical task on which to base a standard; establishing minimum acceptable performance and methods of best practice for the execution of these tasks; determining the physical demands of a task and a reasonable relative workload; producing the final standard. Finally, the impact of the subjective component of the development of an occupational fitness standard on its defensibility is discussed. It is concluded that all standards involve some subjective aspects; the extent of these could be reduced by further research. In the meantime, it would be prudent for those developing standards to detail the rationale, methods and evidence by which subjective decisions were reached, to provide an audit trail for subsequent investigation.