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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: An outsourcing process in a medium-size city, by Norwegian standards, provided the background for our study. In 1996, the city council decided to contract out the refuse collection in half of its total area (the western part of the city), and to let the public refuse collection enterprise continue to collect in the other half of the area. The public enterprise also participated in the competitive tender, without success, however. The bid submitted by the public refuse collection…enterprise was used as the basis for a benchmarking process performed by the chief administrative officer of the city in May 1999. The process resulted in the requirement that the public enterprise downsize its number of refuse collectors by 27 per cent. The city thus acquired a more cost-effective refuse collection system both in the western part, now run by a private company, and in the rest of the city, where the collection remained the responsibility of the public enterprise, in its newly pared-down and reorganized version. Detectable changes in the refuse collectors' health status in the three-year period immediately following the outsourcing constitute our main focus in this study. We found that the downsizing and reorganization of the public enterprise had a negative impact on the refuse collectors' health status. One year after the downsizing, six of the 27 refuse collectors remaining in the public enterprise had been diagnosed with heart problems or musculoskeletal pains that were sufficiently serious to form the basis of their individual approaches to secure a disability pension, which all six were in the process of acquiring. The registered sick leave among the refuse collectors showed a dramatic increase during the same period. We found clear indications that the refuse collectors remaining in the employment of the public enterprise had no alternatives in the labour market. Although not the focus of this study, we found that the totality of costs and benefits, not only for the enterprise in question, but also for local and national authorities, needs to be considered in any realistic assessment of the impact of public sector outsourcing of activities.
Keywords: downsizing, health condition, predictability, affective commitment, early retirement
Abstract: Classic instrument design does not always match the physical capacity of the musician, as instruments are often chosen because of the pleasing sound and not the ease of play. Devices that are commercially available to create a more ergonomic structure may not address the specific needs of a musician with a chronic condition. Through basic splinting of the musician with an injury, these physical stressors can be reduced, allowing the continuation of musical practice and performance.…Appropriate design modification requires a solid understanding of upper extremity anatomy, splint design technique, and the biomechanic principles of playing the instrument. Through knowledge of music theory and appreciation, one may modify the instrument while protecting tonal flexibility, resonance, mechanical freedom, and sound quality. Two case studies present a range of splint design, from small to large, static to dynamic, and for congenital or chronic conditions.
Abstract: The objective of this study was to quantify and assess whether lifting tasks in the workplace are a risk factor in lumbar spondyloarthrosis etiology. A case-control study was performed with 231 workers, 18–55 years old, insured by the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS, according to its designation in Spanish). A multivariate analysis using conditional logistical regression showed that lifting tasks, combined with driving tasks, are associated with this illness (OR = 7.3; 95% CI 1.7–31.4). The…daily frequency of lifting as it interacts with work as a driver resulted in a greater risk (OR = 10.4; 95% CI 2.0–52.5). The load weight, daily task-hours and cumulative time showed a dose-response relationship. The attributable risk for lifting tasks was 0.83, suggesting that 83% of lumbar spondyloarthrosis development could be prevented if risk factors were eliminated by ergonomic redesign of the task.
Keywords: lifting, low back pain, risk factors, occupational disease/prevention & control
Abstract: Background: There is very little knowledge on the long-term outcomes of sickness absence. The aim was to investigate sickness absence and disability pensions over 11 years in a cohort of young persons initially long-term sick listed with back, neck, or shoulder diagnoses. Method: A prospective population-based cohort study of all 213 individuals in the Municipality of Linköping, Sweden, who in 1985 were aged 25–34 and had at least one new sick-leave spell > 28 days with such…diagnoses. Main results: More women (61%) than men fulfilled the inclusion criteria. In 1996, 22% of the cohort (14% of the men, 26% of the women) had been granted disability pension; 76% of these individuals with musculoskeletal and the rest with psychiatric diagnoses. Partial disability pension was granted to 59% of the women, 17% of the men. Women were more often granted temporary disability pension than men. Conclusions: This proved to be a high-risk group for disability pension. There were large and somewhat unexpected gender differences regarding incidence and type of disability pension. It has been debated how soon physicians should be concerned about the risk of long-term disability regarding these diagnoses; at four or eight weeks of sickness absence – our results support the former, at least for women.
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to gather data concerning the psychosocial (quality of life) impact of speech recognition software on individuals with physical disabilities and to identify how satisfied these individuals were with this software as a computer access method. Two standardized questionnaires, the Psychosocial Impact of Assistive Devices Scale (PIADS) and the Quebec User Evaluation of Satisfaction with assistive Technology (QUEST) were administered to ten participants with physical disabilities who…received speech recognition software following an assistive technology evaluation. The results of this study indicated that 90% of the participants were quite satisfied with speech recognition software as an assistive device and that the software had a somewhat positive psychosocial impact on their lives. Four themes emerged concerning what the participants liked most about the software: 1) the software provided a method of access when they were not previously accessing a computer, 2) the software increased independence, 3) the software made computer use more efficient, and 4) the software provided a choice or flexibility in computer access. Although this study demonstrated that these speech recognition software users are generally satisfied with the software and it has had a positive impact on their life, it also suggests that there is a need to examine the role of training on satisfaction and successful use of the software.
Abstract: This study examines the distribution of psychological distress in twelve occupational groups over the decade 1987–1998 in the Quebec workforce. Cross-sectional data from the three phases of the Quebec Health and Social Survey are used with n = 9,450 in 1987, n = 10,947 in 1992 and n = 10,960 in 1998, totalling 31,357 workers aged 15 and over. Occupations are classified according to the Canadian Socio-economic Classification of Occupations. Prevalence estimates for occupational groups are…computed and logistic regression analyses are conducted controlling for gender, age and marital status. The results show that the prevalence of workers with psychological distress increased sharply between 1987 and 1992 and declined back in 1998 but still increased compared to 1987. However, only non-qualified white collars, semi-qualified blue collars and male non-qualified blue collars show a significant increment in psychological distress over time. Analysis of the differentials in the prevalence of psychological distress gives greater odds of distress for supervisors, semi-qualified white and blue collar workers compared to upper managers. The odds for occupations are stable over time, gender, age and marital status. The odds of female workers significantly decreased in the three phases. It appears that the restructuring of the work environment and the perturbations in the larger society promoted an increase of psychological distress within definite segments of the workforce. The specific contribution of occupation is limited but supervisors and occupations requiring lower qualifications are more at risk regarding mental health at work.
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to determine the average time school children spend on computers and electronic games, the positions they assume, and any associated discomfort related to their use. A twenty three-point questionnaire was distributed to 476 children in first to eighth grade from three parochial schools in one of the New York City boroughs. The findings of this study suggest that children use the computer and electronic games differently than adults and that…more boys than girls engage in electronic game playing. Results clearly indicated that children are experiencing discomfort from the use of computers or electronic games, and that the discomfort is largely concentrated in the neck region. Occupational therapy could be instrumental in terms of educating the children, their parents/guardians, and their teachers on proper body mechanics, applications of ergonomically suited workstations, and the use of rest/stretch breaks while engaged in computing and electronic game playing.
Abstract: Of more than 1,000,000 survivors of poliomyelitis living in the United States, about 80% experience symptoms associated with post-polio syndrome (PPS). New weakness, fatigue, and pain are the most common symptoms that may appear years after acute polio. PPS is reported to be the most prevalent progressive neuromuscular disease in North America. The physical symptoms of PPS can be severe enough to decrease an individual's quality of life, significantly alter work function, and impose lifestyle changes.…The psychological implications of battling once again with a disease that had stabilized decades ago can be devastating. Rehabilitation physicians and counselors knowledgeable of post-polio syndrome and its possible impact on employment can have a positive influence on persons with PPS.
Abstract: Much has been written since the first appearance of HIV/AIDS in 1981 about its effects on the Canadian health care and social services systems. However, researchers have given limited attention to issues of entry or re-entry to the competitive job market for HIV positive individuals. The emergence of highly active antiretroviral therapies (HAART) has allowed a significant number of persons who are HIV positive to experience a major recovery in health and energy. This increase in…physical health has in turn led to a re-examination of the possibility of returning to former types and levels of activity, including the prospect of going back to work or entering the competitive workforce for the first time. The purpose of this paper is to outline some of the issues and concerns that impact HIV positive individuals' attempts to return to or enter the competitive workforce, particularly those relating to disability policies and public insurance. Data from in-depth interviews with a sample of people living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs) are used to help illustrate the disconnect between these policies and the lived experiences of PHAs. Also discussed are the opportunities for Canadian policies and practices to employ a functional definition of disability and a philosophy of early intervention in vocational rehabilitation.