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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: Multiple ergonomic risk assessment methods of unique structure are currently being used to direct industrial prevention initiatives focused on musculoskeletal injuries. In this study, the physical exposures required to perform an at-risk sawmill occupation were collected from 29 subjects via quantified means (surface electromyography and electrogoniometery) and used to calculate several ergonomic risk assessment methods. The aims of this study are to: 1) compare the output of the RULA, REBA, ACGIH TLV, Strain Index and OCRA…ergonomic risk assessment methods, 2) examine the assessments' ability to differentiate between facilities reporting meaningfully different incidence rates, and 3) examine the effect of varying the definition of end range posture and exertion required on risk assessment scores. Risk level output assigned by all methods were not sensitive to inter facility differences in risk of injury, suggesting interpretation of risk index and component scores are needed to direct intervention. Components of all methodologies were sensitive to worker technique and facility assessed. Varying variable definition resulted in significantly different component, combined component and/or risk output scores in all methods assessed. The significant effect of posture and exertion variable definition suggests definitions taken to be interchangeable by work site evaluators are not equivalent.
Keywords: Field study, job analysis, physical ergonomics, forest products manufacturing industry
Abstract: Background: To investigate the intersection of aging with work limitations, chronic medical and musculoskeletal conditions, and physical functioning we undertook a cross-sectional study of U.S. construction roofers who were current union members between the ages of 40 and 59. Methods: Participants were asked about the presence of medical conditions and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs); the Work Limitations Questionnaire, the SF-12, and other validated assessments of social and economic impact of injury were included.…Results: Sixty-nine percent had at least one of these conditions in the previous two years; 31% missed work. Workers with medical and musculoskeletal conditions were older, had the highest prevalence of work activity limitations, and had the lowest SF-12 scores. Conclusions: Older age was associated with the presence of a medical condition, and with reduced physical functioning. Medical and musculoskeletal conditions were strongly associated with work limitation, missed work, and reduced physical functioning. Older workers may be at higher risk of disability retirement compared to younger workers with similar medical conditions and work limitations.
Abstract: The objective of this study was to assess and quantify the degree to which interaction between occupational driving and lifting tasks is 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 driving tasks, when combined with lifting tasks, are associated with this illness (OR…= 7.3; 95% CI 1.7–31.4). Occupational driving as it interacted with daily lifting frequency resulted in a greater risk (OR = 10.4; 95% CI 2.0–52.5). No exposure-response relationship was found with daily hours spent working as a driver. The attributable risk for driving tasks was 0.86, suggesting that 86% of lumbar spondyloarthrosis could be decreased if risk factors were reduced through ergonomic redesign of the workplace and Manual Materials Handling (MMH) tasks, along with development of educational programs.
Keywords: Driving, lifting, low back pain, risk factors, occupational disease/prevention & control
Abstract: Background: The physical symptoms and mental health status of 3,447 men working in a dairy product company were evaluated by a health questionnaire, the Todai Health Index (THI). The purpose of this study is to determine the relationship between job content and subjective health status. Method: The authors conducted a cross-sectional study. Thirty-three branches of the company are distributed throughout Japan. The subjects ranged in age from 18 to 59 years old. The THI…is composed of 130 questions and each subject's physical and mental health status was evaluated based on the scores in 13 specific scales. The subjects' jobs were classified into three categories: 1 production process work; 2 clerical or technical work; 3 transportation or sales work. Subjects grouped into the clerical or technical work category were set as the control group, because the authors speculated that the lowest workload was observed in group of clerical or technical work. Results: The scores in each of the THI scales were compared among workers in the three job categories stratified by the age group (10-year age groups). The transportation or sales workers began to show high scores for irregularity of lifestyle from their 30's, and this was maintained until subjects' retirement from the company. In addition, the same group also began to show higher scores for physical symptoms, such as vague complaints, respiratory complaints, and eye complaints from their 40's and higher scores for mouth and evacuation and digestive complaints from their 50's. Conclusions: Transportation or sales workers should receive adequate health care to prevent a high prevalence of physical and/or illness.
Keywords: Perceived health, type of job, questionnaire
Abstract: Occupational ill-health and work-related disorders are predominant in manufacturing industries due to the inevitable presence of manual work even after several waves of industrial automation and technological advancements. Ergonomic risk factors and musculoskeletal disorders like low-back symptoms have been noted amongst foundry workers . Objective: The purpose of this study was to formulate and develop a Physical Effort Index to assess risk factor. Scope: The questionnaire tool applicable to foundry environment has…been designed and validated. The data recorded through survey across the foundries has been subjected to regression analysis to correlate between proposed physical effort index and the standard Borg's Ratings of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale . Results: The physical efforts of sixty seven workers in various foundry shop floors were assessed subjectively. The 'Job factors' and 'Work environment' were the two major parameters considered in assessing the worker discomfort level at workplace. A relation between Borg's RPE scale and the above two parameters were arrived at, through regression analysis. Conclusions: The study demonstrates the prevalence of risk factors amongst foundry workers and the effectiveness of the proposed index in estimating the risk factor levels. Relevance to the industry: The proposed tool will assist foundry supervisors and managers to assess the risk factors and helps in better understanding of the workplace to avoid work-related disorders, ensuring better output.
Keywords: Foundry, physical effort index, occupational hazards, Borg scale
Abstract: This study focused on quantifying the mathematical relationship between shoulder physical loading and muscular effort perception during low physical demand tasks. Subjects underwent training to calibrate to their range of shoulder strength capability. Subjects transferred visually identical bottles representing specified percentages of extended arm maximal voluntary force (MVF) in defined azimuth directions to identified targets. They then reported their percentage of perceived shoulder exertion relative to their calibrated range. Measures of physical…shoulder loading were calculated from experimental data with a dynamic shoulder moment model. Shoulder reported perceived muscular exertion (RPE) values were most significantly correlated with percent MVF (r = 0.81), suggesting subjects were influenced more by the manipulated hand load than the shoulder-specific physical load. Multiple regression analyses demonstrated that other personal and task factors influenced shoulder RPE. Generally, subjects overestimated shoulder physical loading, and the quality of their perception degraded as the load increased.
Keywords: Effort perception, shoulder mechanics, load transfer tasks
Abstract: Background: General health in the working population is thought to depend on working conditions. Objective: This survey studied job demands and health complaints in working white and blue collar employees. We expect physical and psychological job demands to be differentially distributed among white and blue collar workers. Do they report health complaints consistent with their working conditions? Method: Cross-sectional study of 323 white and 383 blue collar workers. They completed the Basic…Occupational Health Questionnaire, a valid and reliable self-report questionnaire about health, work and working conditions. The results were analysed using Chi-square and logistic regression analysis, controlling for educational level as a proxy of socioeconomic status. Results: The questionnaires of 280 white and 251 blue collar workers were suitable for analysis. White collar workers reported higher psychological job demands, and blue collar workers reported higher physical demands. In both occupational groups, low back pain, fatigue and upper respiratory complaints were most common. The rates of low back pain and pain in the lower extremity were higher in blue collar workers, as were regular headaches, pain in the cardiac region and feeling sleepy. However, these relationships substantially weakened when the educational level was adjusted for. Conclusions: Despite the differential distribution of job demands, white and blue collar workers reported similar health complaints. Health in the working population depended predominantly on socioeconomic status. Interventions to improve general health of employees should be directed at their socioeconomic position instead of working conditions.
Keywords: Physical job demands, psychological job demands, occupation, blue collar, white collar, general health
Abstract: Objective: To identify the personal, family, and community factors that facilitate or hinder employment for young adults with developmental motor disabilities. Methods: Quantitative methods with an embedded qualitative component were used. Seventy-six persons between the ages of 20 and 30 years of age (Mean = 25, SD = 3.1) with a diagnosis of either cerebral palsy or spina bifida completed questionnaires addressing factors such as depression, and participated in a semi-structured interview that allowed…participants to describe their experiences with education, employment, transportation, and other services. Results: Almost half of the participants (n = 35) were not currently employed. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that gender (females were less likely to be employed), IQ (lower IQ associated with unemployment), and transportation dependence accounted for 42% of the variance in employment. Themes emerging from content analysis of the interviews supported the findings related to transportation barriers. Social reactions to disability limited employment opportunities, and participants often felt stuck in terms of employment options with limited opportunities for advancement. Conclusions: Transportation is a significant barrier to employment and innovative solutions are needed. Issues related to gender need to be considered when addressing employment inequities for persons with primarily motor disabilities.
Keywords: Motor disability, employment, gender, young adults
Abstract: Aims: The objective of this pilot study was to explore whether organisational change and work-related stress, as measured by the Job Content Questionnaire, were associated with first-ever stroke among working people aged 30–65. Methods: In a case-control study a total of 65 consecutive cases, aged 30–65 years of age, with first-ever stroke were recruited from four hospitals in Sweden during 2000–2002. During the same period, 103 random population controls in the same age interval…were recruited. Data on job-related stress and traditional medical risk factors were collected by a questionnaire. Results: In the multivariate analyses, organisational change (OR 3.38) increased the likelihood of stroke, while experiencing an active job (OR 0.37) decreased the likelihood of stroke. Regarding risk factors outside work, age (OR 1.11), low physical activity (OR 5.21), low education (OR 2.48) and family history of stroke (OR 2.59) were associated with increased likelihood of stroke. Conclusion: This study suggests an association between organisational change, work-related stress and stroke. The likelihood of stroke was lower for people in active job situations.