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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: Objectives: The paper seeks to identify the key knowledge domains, skills and professional behaviours required to prepare occupational therapists and physiotherapists for employment in work related practice. Participants: Twelve experienced work related practitioners in one Australian state participated in face to face semi-structured interviews. Participants represented the majority of perspectives in the field and in addition to professional qualifications, a number of participants were employers or contractors of therapists. Methods: The paper…reviews existing evidence about knowledge, skills and professional behaviours in the field. The results of a study examining requisite knowledge, skills and professional behaviours for occupational therapists and physiotherapists follow. Interviews were analysed using the Leximancer™ text analysis program developed at The University of Queensland. Results: A high level of congruence was evident in key areas of knowledge, skills and professional behaviours between all interviewees and the literature. Findings included the need for very good communication skills by both professions and the need for a sound grounding in specific disciplinary skills. Results identified that occupational therapists take a broad view of function and task analysis and that physiotherapists have good skills in anatomy, musculoskeletal assessment and movement analysis. Conclusions: These results are considered in relation to planning the clinical education of OT and PT students in preparation for work related practice.
Keywords: Knowledge, skills, professional behaviours, new graduates, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, occupational health and safety, work related practice
Abstract: Objective: The association between diagnosis and psychosocial work factors in a sickness absent population was examined in order to test the existence of a previously suggested hypothesis of "the burnout staircase", a seven step process prior to the long-term sickness absence due to burnout starting with reorganisations followed by insecure social bonds affecting the work situation as well as trust in oneself and others. Participants: The study population comprised of 2055 employed sick-listed persons (1414 women,…641 men), a sub sample derived from the 2002 national Swedish survey on health, working conditions, life situation and sick-listing. Methods: Through multinomial logistic regression it was analysed if experiences of the different steps in the burnout staircase increased the probability of burnout compared to other medical diagnoses. Results: The hypothesis was supported. The study revealed strong and significant associations between having experienced reorganisations, insecure social relations fraught with conflicts, incompatible demands, lack of trust and diminished self-esteem and burnout. This was true for both women and men. Strong and significant associations were found also between each step studied and other mental diagnoses for men. Conclusion: More studies are needed to further test the hypothesis.
Keywords: Burnout process, sickness absence, social relations, emotional deprivation, shame, psychosocial work factors
Abstract: Objective: To investigate the relationships between physical, psychosocial, and individual characteristics and occurrence, chronicity, care seeking and absenteeism due to musculoskeletal complaints of the lower back and knee. Methods and Participants: This was a cross-sectional study among 350 nursing personnel in six hospitals in South-West Greece. Data related to physical and psychosocial workload, need for recovery, perceived general health and other risk factors for occurrence of low-back and knee complaints were…collected. Odds ratios (ORs) were estimated for all relevant risk factors. Results: Low-back and knee pain were reported by 51% and 23% of the subjects, respectively. A high perceived physical exertion and a moderate/bad perceived general health were the strongest risk factor for low-back and knee pain. With regard to care seeking a moderate/bad perceived general health was risk factor for both, low back and knee pain (OR=3.45 and OR=2.28; respectively). Perceived moderate/bad general health (OR=2.90) and high need for recovery (OR=2.78) were risk factors for absenteeism due to low-back pain, whereas organizational factors, high job demands (OR=4.60) and low co workers support (OR=3.13) for absenteeism due to knee pain. Age exhibited a positive relation with the disability and care seeking for both complaints although far stronger for knee. Conclusions: Compared to the well-studied work related low back pain, knee complaints have been shown to cause significant burden in nursing staff. Besides general health status of individual workers, work-related psychosocial factors, like support and demand, are related with the disability and care seeking for knee complaints.
Abstract: Objective: The aims of this study were to generate new knowledge about factors predicting return to work (RTW) among women treated for early-stage breast cancer, and about changes in life satisfaction, and coping, and to examine the association between these concepts and RTW. Methods and Participants: A cohort of 102 women aged 18–64 were assessed six weeks, six months, and ten months after surgery using data from questionnaires and medical files. Results: Factors independently predicting no…RTW at six months were: chemotherapy, > 30 days of sick leave during the previous 12 months, low satisfaction with activities of daily living, and not having been born in Sweden. No RTW at ten months was predicted by irradiation to breast/chest wall and regional nodes, and low satisfaction with vocational situation. Global life satisfaction was higher among the working women, both six months after surgery and ten months after surgery. The working women used more positive coping resources as compared to the sick-listed women, particularly sick-listed women treated with chemotherapy. Conclusion: Factors associated with RTW appear to include not only treatment-related factors such as chemotherapy and irradiation, but also psychosocial factors such as life satisfaction and coping resources. With increased understanding of the complex factors related to RTW after a breast cancer diagnosis, it will be possible to identify and support survivors who are at risk of being marginalized from the labor market.
Keywords: Breast neoplasm, sick leave, chemotherapy, adjuvant, personal satisfaction, coping styles, return to work
Abstract: This case study reviews the knowledge transfer (KT) process of implementing a knife sharpening and steeling program into a poultry processing plant via a participatory ergonomics intervention. This ergonomics intervention required stakeholder participation at the company level to move a 'train-the-trainer' program, developed in Québec, Canada, into action on the plant's deboning line. Communications and exchanges with key stakeholders, as well as changes in steeling and production behaviours were recorded. The intervention…was assumed to be at least partially successful because positive changes in work operations occurred. Ergonomic-related changes such as those documented have been cited in the academic literature as beneficial to worker health. However, several components cited in literature that are associated with a successful participatory ergonomics intervention were not attained during the project. A Dynamic Knowledge Transfer Model was used to identify KT issues that impacted on the success of train-the-trainer program. A debriefing analysis reveals that a failure to consider key participatory ergonomics factors necessary for success were related to capacity deficits in the knowledge dissemination strategy.
Abstract: Objective: This paper seeks to highlight the need for employment relations academics and researchers to expand their use of research methodologies in order for them to enable the advancement of theoretical debate within their discipline. It focuses on the contribution that pragmatical critical realism has made to the field of perception and argues that it would add value to the subject of employment relations. Methods: It is a theoretically centred review of pragmatical critical…realism and the possible contribution this methodology would make to the field of employment relations. Conclusions: The paper concludes that the employment relationship does not take place in a vacuum rather it is focussed on the interaction between imperfect individuals. Therefore, their interactions are moulded by emotions which can not be explored thoroughly or even acknowledged through a positivists' rigorous but limited acknowledgment of what constitutes 'knowledge' and development of theory. While not rejecting the contribution that quantitative data or positivism have made to the field, the study concludes that pragmatic critical realism has a lot to offer the development of the area and its theoretical foundations.
Keywords: Pragmatic critical realism, research methodology, positivism, employment relations
Abstract: Objective: This study provides a test of a conceptual framework of the stress-related health consequences of "precarious" employment experiences defined as those associated with instability, lack of protection, insecurity across various dimensions of work, and social and economic vulnerability. Methods: Data were drawn from the Canadian Survey of Labor and Income Dynamics (SLID), a nationally representative longitudinal labor-market survey (1999–2004). Logistic regression analysis estimated the impact of several dimensions of precarious employment on two health…outcomes: low health status and low functional health. Participants: For each calendar year we selected a subsample of individuals with close ties to the labor-market – i.e., aged 25 to 54, not full-time students, and employed at least 9 months of the year. We excluded individuals who were self-employed, those in management-level positions, and individuals who reported less than good health at the beginning of the year. Results: Certain work characteristics (low earnings, the lack of an annual wage increase, substantial unpaid overtime hours, the absence of pension benefits, manual work) predict an increased risk of adverse general and/or functional health outcomes. Conclusions: Proactive regulatory initiatives and all-encompassing benefits programs are urgently required to address emerging work forms and arrangements that present risks to health.
Keywords: Job insecurity, nonstandard work, work quality, work stress, health, wellbeing, longitudinal studies
Abstract: Objective: Background music is a common element in daily living and the workplace. Determination of whether background music affects human work concentration is a relevant concern. Studies have found background music influences human behavior, and this study attempts to understand how background music and listener fondness for types of music affects worker concentration. Methods: This study analyzes how different types of background music – and how listeners' degree of preference for the background music – can affect…listener concentration in attention testing through Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT). Participants: Data were collected from 89 workers. The participants ranged in age between 19 and 28 years old, with an average age of 24 years old. Results: We conclude background music influenced listener attention. This influence has more to do with listener fondness for the music than with type of music. Compared to situations without background music, the likelihood of background music affecting test-taker attention performance is likely to increase with the degree to which the test-taker likes or dislikes the music. Conclusions: It is important not to select music that workers strongly like or dislike when making a selection of background music to avoid negatively affecting worker concentration.
Keywords: Background music, work environment, worker concentration, attention performance
Abstract: Objective: Burnout is a familiar problem within nursing. This longitudinal study was designed to examine the roles that generic and occupational specific job demands (i.e. "pain and death", "patient and relative needs", "threats and violence", "professional worries"), and various work-related sources of support play in association with burnout in a sample of registered nurses in Sweden. Methods and Participants: A questionnaire was completed on two different occasions, by the same group of…nurses from three hospitals and two primary health care centers. Nurses with initial low and moderate scores on emotional exhaustion (n=585) and depersonalization (n=631) were included in the logistic regression analyses. Initial scores, as well as four categories examining change over time in the predictors (unchanged low, improved, impaired, unchanged high), were associated with burnout approximately one year later. Results: In the multivariate analyses, quantitative job demands and professional worries were associated with emotional exhaustion. Poor co-worker support was associated with depersonalization over time. Conclusion: This study suggests an association between generic as well as occupational specific job demands and emotional exhaustion. Furthermore, an association between poor co-worker support and depersonalization was suggested. Implications of these findings and recommended directions for future research are discussed.