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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: Objective: To measure the effect of a physical activity intervention, based on social cognitive theory, delivered by a peer and a professional leader. Design: Quasi-experimental. Setting: Three locations at a large Mid-Western railroad. Subjects: One hundred and forty-eight skilled labor employees participated: one hundred and twenty completed the study. Measures: Self-reported energy expenditure, self-efficacy and stages of change. Results: ANOVA and categorical analysis using rates and proportions were used for…evaluation. The peer group had a non-significant short-term increase in energy expenditure of 3%, which returned to baseline post intervention. The professional and control groups showed a non-significant decrease in energy expenditure of 5% and 9%, respectively. The peer (p < 0.002) and professional groups (p < 0.004) showed significant increases in average stages scores. The peer group maintained increases over time (p < 0.001). The peer and professional led groups showed a 54% and 24% increase in the number of employees reporting regular physical activity over time, respectively. The peer group also showed positive trends in self-efficacy. Conclusions: The peer intervention enhanced self-efficacy and self-reported physical activity. A job layoff at the professional led site confounded comparisons between locations. Employees reported high energy expenditure and high BMI values, suggesting that a weight management intervention may be more appropriate and appealing in this population.
Abstract: Employee health and productivity losses as a result of work-related injury are estimated to be $1.2 trillion annually to US companies. This is approximately 14.3% of the gross domestic product [6,8,11,35]. Workers' compensation, medical care, and short and long-term disability are a part of these costs. Controlling or eliminating these costs is a problem for US employers [3,6,14,21,29]. The study discussed in this article examined the perceptions of manufacturing employees in identifying factors that influence…a return to work after a work-related musculoskeletal injury. The classification of employees who participated in this study were safety professionals, supervisors and workers from the manufacturing industry in central Kentucky. The worker group consisted of material handlers, assembly line workers and quality control inspectors. The participants completed a developed survey instrument, the Return to Work Perception Survey. This survey instrument examined the perception of the participants on factors related to return to work: company policies and procedures, job satisfaction, worker relationships and work environment. The results indicated safety professionals and supervisors perceptions differ from workers on the variables of job satisfaction, worker relationships and work environment. Their perceptions did not differ on the variable relating to company policies and procedures. In addition, the safety professional and supervisor groups rated the items addressing job satisfaction higher than did the worker group. The worker group did not differ from one another on any of the factors. Implications of this study for manufacturing companies suggest (a) identifying those issues contributing to employee job satisfaction, (b) developing a plan for achieving increased job satisfaction and employee recognition at the workplace among all workers, and (c) consider allowing employees to develop new capacities and new learning, thus fostering motivation and job satisfaction [18,20].
Abstract: This paper reports on the findings of a participatory research study in which 290 injured workers in Ontario, Canada responded to a survey that was developed and administered by a group of university researchers in partnership with injured worker peer researchers. The objectives of the study were to gain a broad view of the needs and experiences of injured workers and to develop strategies for change. Findings indicated that many injured workers experience undue financial, emotional…and physical hardship during the compensation, treatment and rehabilitation process. These hardships are experienced due to perceived lack of respect, insufficient information concerning rights and the return-to-work process, and limited opportunities for input into the medical or rehabilitation process. Recommendations for increasing the power of workers and creating a more supportive climate are included.
Abstract: Purpose: Several low back pain work rehabilitation programs have been developed and evaluated for their outcomes. Unfortunately, the program impact theory for these programs is not described, and consequently, the exact mechanisms of action by which these programs intend to increase the probability of return to work remain unknown. This lack of knowledge jeopardizes the implementation of effective programs by health professionals and managers. The objective of this paper is to present the results of an…exploratory study aimed at building the program impact theory for the PREVICAP work rehabilitation program. Methods: The program impact theory was develop by conducting: unpublished documents and scientific literature analyses, individual and group discussions with multiple stakeholders and observation of program reality by reviewing the files of workers who completed the program. Results: The PREVICAP program's impact theory was elaborated based on an ecological approach to work rehabilitation. Program goals and objectives were defined for the three dimensions of the model: the worker, the work environment and the interaction between the worker and his work environment. Two program action mechanisms were defined and describe how the program was intended to achieve its expected outcomes. Conclusions: This study made explicit the PREVICAP program impact theory and can help rehabilitation practitioners to address work disability according to an ecological model.
Keywords: musculoskeletal disorders, program evaluation, evidence-based practice, occupational rehabilitation
Abstract: A post-offer screening program jointly developed by the Occupational and Physical Therapy Departments (University of Illinois at Chicago) was first implemented in March 1998. A total of 712 screens were completed from 3-01-98 through 2-28-01. A quasi-experimental design was utilized to analyze changes in Workers' Compensation costs between the three-year period prior to, and the three-year period following program inception. Additionally, injury rates and mean cost per injury were compared between injuries sustained between 3-98 and…3-01 which were incurred by workers who had passed screening and those that had not been screened. Finally, the tabulated cost per screen and reduction in Workers' Compensation costs allowed derivation of a dollar spent/ dollar saved ratio. Dramatic declines in number of injuries, total costs and mean cost per case occurred in the three-year period following program inception. Mean cost per case also dramatically declined comparing injured workers who had passed screening versus those who had never been screened. Cost savings were over $18 per dollar spent on the program. While a number of mitigating variables may have accounted for some of the profound effects noted, decrease in average cost per case (indicating possible reduction in severity of injury) was consistent with existing literature.
Keywords: work injuries, Workers' Compensation, prevention
Abstract: This study evaluated the relationship between employment status (i.e., part- and full-time) and job satisfaction, with the focus on the moderating roles of perceived injury risk and injury incidence. The results found that the level of job satisfaction for full-time workers was about the same regardless of the level of injury risk they perceived. In contrast, job satisfaction of part-time workers was significantly higher when they perceived low injury risk rather than high injury risk. The…findings also supported the potential adverse impact of injury incidence and injury risk on job satisfaction for both part- and full-time workers. This study highlighted the importance of understanding both workplace safety and job satisfaction when attempting to understand the differences between part-time and full-time workers.
Keywords: workplace safety, job satisfaction, employment status
Abstract: Differences in future time orientation were investigated among 317 individuals with spinal cord injuries according to work status. The results of an analysis of variance indicated a significant difference on future time orientation between individuals with an active community role (full-time or part-time employed, student, or volunteer) versus a non-active community role (unemployed or retired). In a post-hoc analysis of covariance (with depression as the covariate), these differences between work statuses on future time…orientation were no longer significant, though a significant main effect by depression was observed. In both analyses, individuals with active community roles had higher future time orientation scores than individuals without active community roles. Suggestions for future research were briefly proposed.
Keywords: time perspectives, unemployment, community roles
Abstract: Since a patient's ability to perform simulated work activities guides return-to-work decisions, a significant question to address is whether the simulated work environment accurately reflects the actual work environment. Work hardening programs have been used extensively as a method of rehabilitating workers to return to their pre-injury functioning levels. Re-training workers to lift boxes is a common method used to simulate the work environment. Although very few boxes used in the real work environment have…handles, boxes with handles are often used in the simulated work environment. The difference in compression forces at the L5/S1 joint while lifting boxes with and without handles was investigated. The Lift Trak Motion Analysis system was used to estimate lumbar isometric compression forces exerted while lifting a 20-pound (9.07-kg) box. The results indicated that estimates of compression forces when lifting a box without handles were significantly different (p < 0.01) than when lifting the same box with handles. Based on these results, it is recommended that work hardening professionals carefully re-evaluate the simulated work environments currently being used for treatment.
Keywords: work hardening, simulated work environment, compression forces L5/S1
Abstract: Accommodations are interventions designed to reduce exposure to factors that limit the activities of an impaired individual. The process incurs costs due to job analysis, implementation and follow up. This theoretical paper expands a model of the ergonomic intervention process and provides data on costs of accommodating individuals with musculoskeletal disorders, particularly low back pain. Accommodations begin with evaluation and documentation of exposure to risk factors. The methods depend on the budget and clinical utility…of the data. A full hazard analysis may require 1-hour managerial time plus 1-hour employee time per job. Studies by the Department of Labor and others indicate that at least a quarter of problem jobs could be addressed faster and for less than $500. Follow-up incurs variable employee and managerial time; an ergonomist may be required in 15% of cases. The benefit is expected mainly from reducing compensation costs. Universal solutions could increase the benefits.
Keywords: occupational diseases, low back pain, prevention and control, cost analysis, workers compensation