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WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation is an interdisciplinary, international journal which publishes high quality peer-reviewed manuscripts covering the entire scope of the occupation of work. The journal's subtitle has been deliberately laid out: The first goal is the prevention of illness, injury, and disability. When this goal is not achievable, the attention focuses on assessment to design client-centered intervention, rehabilitation, treatment, or controls that use scientific evidence to support best practice.
WORK occasionally publishes thematic issues, but in general, issues cover a wide range of topics such as ergonomic considerations with children, youth and students, the challenges facing an aging workforce, workplace violence, injury management, performing artists, ergonomic product evaluations, and the awareness of the political, cultural, and environmental determinants of health related to work.
Dr. Karen Jacobs, the founding editor, and her editorial board especially encourage the publication of research studies, clinical practice, case study reports, as well as personal narratives and critical reflections of lived work experiences (autoethnographic/autobiographic scholarship),
Sounding Board commentaries and
Speaking of Research articles which provide the foundation for better understanding research to facilitate knowledge dissemination.
Narrative Reflections on Occupational Transitions, a new column, is for persons who have successfully transitioned into, between, or out of occupations to tell their stories in a narrative form. With an internationally renowned editorial board,
WORK maintains high standards in the evaluation and publication of manuscripts. All manuscripts are reviewed expeditiously and published in a timely manner.
WORK prides itself on being an author-friendly journal.
WORK celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2015.
*WORK is affiliated with the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT)* *WORK is endorsed by the International Ergonomics Association (IEA)* *WORK gives out the yearly Cheryl Bennett Best Paper Award*
Abstract: CRS Australia, the largest and oldest vocational rehabilitation provider in Australia, is examined over its 60-year history. The Australian government located CRS initially in the Department of Social Security, and subsequently in the Department of Community Services however, its establishment required a complexity of policy and range of skills that were not found in one arm of government alone and required cooperation from many government departments. A disagreement between the government and the medical profession…about the purpose and control of rehabilitation features in the early history of CRS Australia. Factors such as greater involvement of people with disabilities and government inquiries led to a move from a centre-based to a community-based approach to vocational rehabilitation in the 1970s. CRS Australia is a large employer of health and human service professionals and has played a significant part in the development of these professions in Australia. In recent years, CRS Australia has provided greater business accountability to government and the broader Australian community. CRS Australia's role as an expert vocational assessment agency and vocational rehabilitation provider is expected to continue as welfare reform progresses in Australia.
Keywords: vocational rehabilitation, CRS Australia, history, government
Abstract: While the prevention and management of work-related injuries are major areas of practice for Australian occupational therapists, there has been little research on occupational therapy's contribution in these areas. This study examined the characteristics of current Australian occupational therapy practice in the work arena. A postal questionnaire was sent to 355 occupational therapists employed in work practice from six of the eight state or territory Occupational Therapy Associations. The questionnaire enquired about demographic…details, service provision in the prevention, assessment and rehabilitation areas and further education needs in these areas. The responses of 125 (35%) were analysed and show the services commonly offered in prevention, assessment and rehabilitation. The most commonly offered services included job analyses, workplace assessment and suitable duties programs. The results also indicate high levels of service provision in the workplace. In presenting the findings of the survey, current trends in international and Australian occupational therapy work practice are discussed along with suggestions for directions in future education, practice and research.
Abstract: Functional capacity evaluation (FCE) is a widely used tool in work rehabilitation, despite the limited examination of the soundness of its measurement properties. This paper outlines the development of a new approach to FCE, the GAPP FCE, and reports on the findings of an expert review of aspects of its content validity and technical adequacy and how it meets established test criteria. Five expert occupational therapists reviewed the materials of the GAPP FCE then completed a…questionnaire related to the content validity, technical adequacy and safety, reliability, validity, practicality and utility of the GAPP FCE. The experts gave support to most aspects of these criteria. The main issue identified by the review was related to interpretation and extrapolation of the FCE results for return to work. This and other issues are discussed in relation to recent developments in FCE and plans for future development of the GAPP FCE.
Abstract: The Physical Work Performance Evaluation (PWPE) is one of many functional capacity evaluations (FCEs) currently available to assist with determining injured workers' physical potential to return to work. Previous research has explored interrater reliability, construct and predictive validity of the PWPE. This research examined test-retest reliability on a sample of 24 clients with stable physical injuries who were participating in vocational rehabilitation. Nine of the 21 main tasks of the PWPE were evaluated: lifting…floor to waist, bilateral carrying, pushing, sitting, standing, kneeling, stair climbing, repetitive squatting and walking. Kappa scores ranged from 0.19 (error) to 0.77 and percent agreement from 66.7% kneeling, lifting floor to waist, bilateral carrying and pushing tasks suggest substantial test-retest reliability with moderate reliability also suggested for the standing and repetitive squatting tasks. Self-limiting behavior and alterations in pain scores, position adjustments and movement deviations are seen to be the main contributors to affect scoring between the first and second tests.
Abstract: Cognitive and behavioural impairments, in the absence of severe physical disability, are commonly related to poor return to work outcomes for people with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Along with other health professionals, occupational therapists make judgements about cognitive and behavioural dimensions of work capacity of clients with TBI during the return to work process. Unlike many physical functional capacity evaluations, there is no standard method that therapists use to assess the ability of people with TBI…to perform cognitive operations required for work. Little is known about what information occupational therapists use in their assessment of cognitive and behavioural aspects of client performance within the work place. This study employed qualitative research methods to determine what information is utilised by 20 therapists who assess the work capacity of people with TBI in the workplace. Results indicated that the process of making judgements about cognitive and behavioural competence within the work place is a multifaceted process. Therapists triangulate client information from multiple sources and types of data to produce an accurate view of client work capacity. Central to this process is the relationship between the client, the job and the work environment.
Abstract: The purpose of this article is to introduce the cross-disciplinary competency standards for work-related assessments, why they are needed and how they have been developed in New South Wales (NSW). Cross-disciplinary competency standards communicate the benchmarks for effective performance of work-related assessments. They outline what is expected of rehabilitation professionals, including the ability to apply and transfer competence across different conditions and workplace contexts. Outcomes in occupational rehabilitation are affected by the…efficacy of the work-related assessments performed, which is dependent upon competent, clinical decision-making by rehabilitation professionals. However, in Australia, work-related assessment practice is not governed by universally accepted competency standards or by any competency-based training/education and assessment system. To enhance professional practice, WorkCover NSW has developed cross-disciplinary competency standards for work-related a ssessments. The competencies provide (i) quality standards for professional workplace training and development, (ii) benchmarks for assessing the competence of rehabilitation professionals, (iii) a framework for evidence-based practice, (iv) benchmarks for measuring service quality and (v) "real world" learning outcomes and assessment criteria for professional education programs.
Abstract: The establishment of a health and safety committee in the workplace and/or the appointment of an elected health and safety representative is believed to foster employee participation and consultation in the workplace. Despite an emphasis within the Australian occupational health and safety legislation towards employee participation in relation to health and safety issues, there is little known about the effectiveness of the strategies used to involve workers in health and safety matters in the workplace. There…is anecdotal evidence published in relation to the implementation of health and safety committees and their effectiveness in the Australian workplace. Few opinions however are substantiated by empirical evidence. Significantly more research has been conducted on the role of health and safety representatives in Australia. This paper presents the findings of a review of the literature and identifies the factors that are considered to impact on the effectiveness of workplace health and safety committees and representatives. Several factors are described as being fundamental to the effective performance of committees and representatives. These factors include management commitment, communication, training and information, union involvement, the infrastructure of an organisation, committee processes and the involvement of professional experts. It is concluded that the effectiveness of health and safety committees in Australia is unexplored and it is unknown if these committees achieve the purpose for which they were established. Recommendations are made for future research to be conducted to test the current anecdotal evidence and assumptions associated with the operation and effectiveness of health and safety committees.
Keywords: employee participation, health and safety committees and representatives, effectiveness, research
Abstract: A naturalistic study was undertaken to explore six-year-old children's perceptions of work in their school day. Twenty-four Year One children enrolled in an infants' school, located in Southern Sydney were involved. Participant observation and focus group interviewing were used to elicit descriptive information. A fishing game, drawing activity and excerpts from a videotape of their day at school were used as stimuli to capture how children categorised and attributed meaning to their own work performance. The…findings revealed that these children had well-developed ideas about what is work. They employed a highly individual classification process to determine which occupations were work versus play, self-care and rest, resulting in differences of opinion among the children. This process was based on four factors: the physical and social environment, the type of task being performed, personal meaning attributed to the task and the child's perceived level of control.
Abstract: A study was conducted with the purpose of describing self-perceived occupational role performance and to explore the possibility that role is a concept that is understood and utilised in the planning and performance of meaningful occupations. The participants were thirteen men who had experienced a stroke and undergone rehabilitation. The naturalistic methodology employed included a single extensive interview to establish and describe self-perceived roles and occupational role performance, followed by role…sorting and role rating tasks. Data from the tasks were used to verify transcript analysis data. The findings of this study as they relate to the concept of work are described. Work as perceived by the study participants was found to continue beyond retirement and the advent of disability. Work roles, work occupations and workful elements of occupational performance were identified. For some participants a sense of being productive was highly significant to their feelings of well-being and social fit. A number of strategies were employed by participants to enable them to continue to do work. It is suggested that work should be considered in rehabilitation even beyond retirement.