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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: Ergonomics has traditionally considered work done, in a workplace. More recently, this scope has broadened, and the concept of 'work' may now be applied to the satisfactory completion of any task. Thus, learning, being the transformation and extension of the learner's knowledge or skills, can be viewed as work, with its workplace being the educational environment in which learning tasks take place. In accomplishing the learning, the learner interacts with the teachers, other students, equipment, materials,…study plans and the educational organisation; the effectiveness of these learning interactions is influenced by many factors both inside and external to the organisation. To optimize such a multi-factorial process requires the application of an ergonomic approach. This paper proposes an adaptation of the concentric rings model of ergonomics, informed by Kao's earlier model, to produce a new model for educational ergonomics, known as the Hexagon-Spindle Model. In comparison to other published models of educational ergonomics, it is holistic, multi-dimensional, task-related and transferable across a range of educational settings. It extends to characterise a time base for serial and simultaneous tasks, and space shared by multiple learners, and highlights areas where learner/system conflicts may arise. The paper illustrates analysis tools for the application of the model in evaluation and design.
Abstract: Schools and other educational environments beyond serving as the primary work places of children provide the backdrop against which formative emotional, psychological, cognitive and physical development takes place. However, ergonomists have paid little attention to the design of these environments, the interactions within them or their organization from a child's perspective. Children with special education needs, such as those with hearing or visual difficulties, cognitive or social disabilities, or even those with…different learning styles may be placed in mainstream schools ill-equipped to suit their needs. Rather than retrofitting classrooms as children with different requirements enter the school, a ground-up approach could be taken to create effective educational environments based on an understanding of the learning tasks to be supported, the learner characteristics and the facilities and interactions needed to effect task completion. The application of an holistic ergonomic model, such as the Hexagon-Spindle model [1,2] provides a means of systematically considering the variables which need to be included in the design and evaluation of such environments. This paper presents a case study of the application of this model to the design of low sensory classrooms and interactive learning experiences for children with an autistic spectrum disorder.
Keywords: Learning environments, children with special educational needs, ergonomic model
Abstract: Studies indicate that musculoskeletal discomfort and back pain problems are evident not only in adults, but also in children [1,2]. We believe that educating towards a balanced-posture, body-function and movement patterns, as well as their ergonomic implications, can minimize and even prevent these problems. Such an ergonomics awareness educational program has to start at childhood and should be an integral part of the curriculum in the schools. This article presents the educational program "Ergonomics,…Movement & Posture" (EMP), which is taught in elementary schools by Physical Education (PE) students of the Kibbutzim College of Education in Israel, as part of their practicum. Although there has been no formal evaluation of the effectiveness of the program, so far, participating children, their parents, the teachers and the principles have offered positive feedback.
Keywords: Children, curriculum, ergonomics and physical education, posture
Abstract: Children commonly report musculoskeletal discomfort related to different activities such as computer use, playing electronic games, watching TV, reading, and performing physical and hand intensive activities. Discomfort can result in disability and is a strong predictor of future discomfort in adulthood. Adult beliefs regarding discomfort can affect the level of disability and are modifiable. Children's beliefs regarding discomfort could potentially be modified to minimise disability related to musculoskeletal disorders. The aim of…this study was to describe children's beliefs about why they experience musculoskeletal discomfort, both in general and related to specific activities. Eighty eight school children completed questionnaires on frequency and usual duration of nine activities, whether they had felt discomfort and what they believed was the cause of any discomfort in relation to those activities. The most common activity was TV watching, and most activities were performed for 1 hour or shorter. Bad posture and doing too much of a certain activity were the most common beliefs regarding reasons for discomfort. This study shows that children are developing beliefs that tend to reflect scientific knowledge about risk factors. These beliefs could be incorporated into preventative health interventions.
Keywords: Young people, beliefs, musculoskeletal discomfort
Abstract: In recent years, there has been an increasing concern over the association between computer use and reports of discomfort, aches and pains in students. It is suggested that the physical set-up and individual styles of using interactive media has an influence over this discomfort. As children grow up, they will interact and use computers throughout most of their life. Healthy computing may be vital to preventing/reducing the incidence of discomfort/pain associated with interactive media. This research…paper will describe a study, which has collected health and comfort data on the incidence and prevalence of self-reported computer-related musculoskeletal discomfort/pain among 6th and 7th grade students in three middle schools in New England. General base line data from this three-year study is reported.
Abstract: A limited number of studies have focused on computer-use-related MSDs in college students, though risk factor exposure may be similar to that of workers who use computers. This study examined computer use patterns of college students, and made comparisons to a group of previously studied computer-using professionals. 234 students completed a web-based questionnaire concerning computer use habits and physical discomfort respondents specifically associated with computer use. As a group, students reported their computer use to be…at least 'Somewhat likely' 18 out of 24 h/day, compared to 12 h for the professionals. Students reported more uninterrupted work behaviours than the professionals. Younger graduate students reported 33.7 average weekly computing hours, similar to hours reported by younger professionals. Students generally reported more frequent upper extremity discomfort than the professionals. Frequent assumption of awkward postures was associated with frequent discomfort. The findings signal a need for intervention, including, training and education, prior to entry into the workforce. Students are future workers, and so it is important to determine whether their increasing exposure to computers, prior to entering the workforce, may make it so they enter already injured or do not enter their chosen profession due to upper extremity MSDs.
Keywords: Computer, VDT, college students, musculoskeletal discomfort
Abstract: This study examines the home computer use of 26 children (aged 6–18) in ten upper middle class families using direct observation, typing tests, questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. The goals of the study were to gather information on how children use computers in the home and to understand how both parents and children perceive this computer use. Large variations were seen in computing skills, behaviors, and opinions, as well as equipment and workstation setups. Typing speed averaged…over 40 words per minute for children over 13 years old, and less than 10 words per minute for children younger than 10. The results show that for this sample, Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI) concerns ranked very low among parents, whereas security and privacy concerns ranked much higher. Meanwhile, children's behaviors and workstations were observed to place children in awkward working postures. Photos showing common postures are presented. The greatest opportunity to improve children's work postures appears to be in providing properly-sized work surfaces and chairs, as well as education. Possible explanations for the difference between parental perception of computing risks and the physical reality of children's observed ergonomics are discussed and ideas for further research are proposed.
Abstract: Children and young adults are the most frequent users of computers. Whilst guidelines for adults have been based on research, available guidelines for children have had to assume children and adults are similar due to limited research evidence derived specifically from children. This study aimed to compare the posture and muscle activity of children with young adults. Thirty six adults aged 18–25 years, 24 children aged 10–12 years and 18 children aged 5–6 years participated in…a series of laboratory studies. Upper body postures were measured using a 3D motion analysis system. Muscle activity of bilateral cervical erector spinae and upper trapezius muscles was assessed. Mean and variation were examined, the latter using both amplitude range and Exposure Variation Analysis matrix standard deviation. Mean postures assumed by children tended to show more spinal flexion and spinal asymmetry than adults. However children also tended to show more variation in posture and muscle activity. These findings suggest that whilst there may be differences in how children and adults use computers, basic principles of encouraging appropriate postures and variation should apply for both children and adults.
Abstract: The aim of the study was to investigate the posture and musculoskeletal discomfort of secondary school students while working at computers in school. Students (n = 40) were observed while working at a computer during their designated computer class. The Rapid Upper Limb Assessment Tool (RULA) was used to assess posture. A Body Discomfort Chart (BDC) and Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) were used to record the area(s) and intensity of musculoskeletal discomfort, if any, experienced by…the students at the beginning and end of the computer class. None of the students' posture was in the acceptable range (Action Level 1) according to RULA. The majority (65%) were in Action Level 2, 30% were in Action Level 3, and 5% were in Action Level 4. There was a statistically significant increase in reported discomfort from the beginning to the end of the computer class. Longer class length (80 minutes) did not result in greater reporting of discomfort than shorter class length (40 minutes).