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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: BACKGROUND: Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is commonly diagnosed with a combination of characteristic symptoms and nerve conduction studies (NCS) across the wrist. Normative NCS values exist, but there is minimal data among older individuals or among rural populations. OBJECTIVE: To estimate distal median and ulnar sensory, and median motor latencies across the wrist in an older, rural population. METHODS: Hand symptom questionnaires and three standard NCS were obtained from 1085 participants. Univariate and…multiple linear regression analyses were conducted. RESULTS: Normative NCS values are presented from participants (mean age 57 years) who reported either no CTS symptoms or possible CTS symptoms. Covariates associated with NCS included age, hand temperature, body mass index, and height. CONCLUSIONS: This large normative NCS data set can be generalized to an older and rural population. Nerve conduction latencies were generally longer in this population than those reported in previous studies.
Keywords: Rural, nerve conduction, normal data, carpal tunnel syndrome, ergonomics
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Farming is known to pose musculoskeletal disorder risk factors, although how risk factors differ between farmers in various countries is largely unknown. OBJECTIVE: To identify ergonomic risk factors through a qualitative assessment of common tasks performed by South Korean farmers. METHODS: A convenience sample of Korean farmers was videotaped performing typical jobs on farms that produced rice, fruits and vegetables, or raised animals. Ergonomists identified poor ergonomic risk factors…that may lead to musculoskeletal disorders including poor postures of the shoulders, wrists, neck, low back, and knees. RESULTS: Severe flexion and lifting of heavy loads was common across farms. While many of the concerning risk factors identified were similar to those in other parts of the world, one was unique in this population – deep knee flexion while weeding, harvesting, and sorting. CONCLUSIONS: Given the Korean farm population is aging at an alarming rate and remains dominated by small farms, many of these potential risk factors may have a continued or increased role in the development of musculoskeletal disorders. While the current study provided the first observational assessment of ergonomic demands on Korean farms, more quantitative and rigorous investigations are needed to establish actual risk factors.
Abstract: Previous European studies [3,4,10,13] have shown a high prevalence of musculoskeletal discomfort (MSD) among milking parlor operatives, affecting at least 70% of the staff. The aim of the project was to find correlations between workplace design and prevalence of MSD. For this a data collection was carried out questioning the parlor operatives using a modified Nordic Questionnaire . On farm parlor specifics and bovimetrics of milked cows of a randomly-selected shift were measured. After that data…was combined to compare the workplace design and the occurrence of MSD. The results showed that 94% of the female and 71% of the male workers suffered from MSD. The work place analysis revealed that women regularly worked above shoulder level and had to tort and bend more often than men because of the gender specific anthropometrics and the workplace design. The survey took into consideration that not only milking is considered strenuous but other farm tasks as well. The results also demonstrated that there is a need to take action to improve modern milking parlors. The existing helping devices are not sufficient to reduce the workload; reorganizing the work tasks, work schedule and the work place design is suggested.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Occupational injuries are a major problem in agriculture world-wide. OBJECTIVE: Sweden is developing a national approach to scoordinate different stakeholders with the common goal of reducing injuries in the agricultural sector. METHOD: The Swedish strategy involves important factors, such as: 1) Collaboration between all stakeholders involved in health and safety in agriculture, 2) A national programme on injury prevention, 3) Coordination of actions and 4) Knowledge, attitude and behaviour in focus. PARTICIPANTS: This…approach is being coordinated through the Swedish Committee on Working Environment (LAMK), a network acting to achieve a good, healthy and safe working environment in Swedish agriculture. The Committee consists of representatives of authorities, institutions, companies, research and education institutions and organisations working in the green sector. RESULTS: The Swedish model will be evaluated as a whole concept on its effect on the frequency of injuries in the agricultural industry in the beginning of 2014. Promising results has been shown in evaluations of minor parts. CONCLUSIONS: This coordinated approach has been applied in others countries (United States and New Zealand) as well and seems like an efficient way of using limited resources to achieve higher impact on a specific problems such as occupational injuries in agriculture.
Keywords: Injury, prevention, collaboration, national programme, stakeholders, agriculture, Sweden
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Agriculture consistently ranks as one of the highest risk industries in North America and Europe. In addition to vehicle injuries and other injuries that occur on farms, farm vehicle drivers are also involved in collisions involving tractors and other slow-moving vehicles (SMVs) on public roads. These collisions often lead to injuries among farmers, family members, farm workers, and other road users. OBJECTIVE: To conduct a demographic analysis of road traffic incidents involving tractors in Sweden…during the time period 1992–2009, with special consideration of how incidents vary with driver age. METHODS: Statistics from 2,305 police reports describing tractor-related road traffic incidents in Sweden in 1992–2009 were analysed with respect to driver age, type of incident, severity of injury, type of road user and other circumstances at the accident site. RESULTS: Tractors of all kinds were involved in 128 road traffic incidents annually, with 7 people killed, 44 seriously injured and 143 suffering minor injuries each year. The annual number of fatalities represented 1.2% of all Swedish road fatalities. Most road traffic incidents with farm tractors involved people aged 25–55 years (mean 45 years). However, most farm tractor drivers killed or injured belonged to younger or older age groups. Drivers aged 12–16 years were over-represented in tractor incidents with no other vehicle involved. Older tractor drivers (> 55 years) were more often involved in incidents with passenger vehicles on entering traffic flows. The youngest tractor drivers aged 12–16 years were more often involved in road traffic incidents during school holidays, and both youngest and oldest drivers (>65 years) during harvest time. CONCLUSIONS: Sweden has an ageing fleet of tractors, so increased attention to vehicle maintenance is needed to improve road safety. The over-representation of young children in tractor incidents suggests that it is questionable whether they should be allowed to operate farm vehicles. Farm vehicle drivers suffering the inevitable effects of ageing need increase their awareness of added risks. As road traffic incidents with tractors often involve private vehicles, creating awareness among the public of slow-moving farm vehicles is essential for improving overall road safety.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Evidence on effectiveness of ergonomic interventions to reduce mechanical demands of the upper extremity is scarce in agriculture. OBJECTIVE: To conduct an ergonomic intervention to reduce mechanical exposures on workers during manual flower cutting, while emphasizing postural education and reduction of force requirements. PARTICIPANTS: Seventy seven workers (20 to 55 years old; 80% women) from six companies that cultivate roses participated in this study. METHODS: Participants from three companies were randomly assigned…to control and intervention groups. A postural education program and a maintenance program was designed and implemented in the intervention group aiming to achieve more neutral postures of the wrist and forearm and to reduce force requirements during rose cutting. Changes in self-reported effort and upper extremity postures, kinematics and muscular activity between baseline and follow-up assessments were evaluated. RESULTS: Most of the observed changes in the evaluated mechanical exposures were moderate for both groups. The intervention group showed differential improvements compared to the control group for 95th percentile forearm pronation (intervention group went from 50.6 to 35.6°; control group went from 18.4 to 34.7°); and to some degree for the maximum wrist radial deviation (the intervention group went from 17° to 7.6°; control group went from 10.1° to 7.8°). Also, the mean elbow flexion for the control group was reduced from 62.3 to 48.4°, whereas it increased from 52.2 to 57.3° in the intervention group. No differential changes between the intervention and control groups were observed for the kinematic variables, except for an unexpected reduction in the 95th percentile velocity of wrist flexion-extension in the control group, which was not observed in the intervention group. Lastly, although observed changes in muscular activity were not statistically significant, improvements were observed for the intervention group for the flexor and extensor carpi radialis and the flexor carpi ulnaris; although the opposite was true for the extensor carpi ulnaris. CONCLUSIONS: Important although sometimes mixed results were achieved with this field intervention, focusing on postural and force requirement demands. The positive results are encouraging considering the presence of typical limitations observed in field intervention studies.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: A previous ergonomic screening of rice field preparation revealed farmer exposure to high risks of musculoskeletal disorders at the shoulders, hands, wrists and back. The screening method was not applied to muddy soil farming in which analysts could not observe farmer legs and feet. This study analyzed farmer pain in all stages of field preparation. OBJECTIVE: To examine the relationship of farmer experience and demographics to perceptions of pain and to identify body areas exposed to ergonomics…risks, unknown to farmers. Results were expected to support interventions and guidelines for famers on physical behaviors towards minimizing risk of injury as well as validation of the screening approach. METHODS: Comparison of analyst screening results and farmer pain ratings using self-ratings and interviews. RESULTS: Farmer experience and age were significantly correlated with occurrence of pain and cramping. Less experienced farmers reported less pain in high-risk body parts (e.g., neck and lower back). More experienced farmers reported more pain in the legs, as compared with analyst risk ratings. CONCLUSIONS: Results demonstrated less experienced farmers to be unaware of critical areas of exposure to ergonomics risks. Correlation of farmer ratings of pain with analyst risk assessments support validity of the screening method for hazard identification and control.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Although several studies are concerned by the phenomenon of psychological distress at work, few studies have looked at the prevalence of psychological distress among professional workers in the regulated occupations and compare this prevalence with other occupations. OBJECTIVES: This study propose to define regulated occupations by laying out the theoretical boundaries that apply to the practice of these occupations and try to understand how regulated occupations contributed to the experience of psychological distress…in the Canadian workforce over time. METHOD: Multilevel logistical regression analyses on longitudinal data were performed to compare the odds of experiencing psychological distress over time among professional workers in regulated occupations (n=276) and among other professional workers, classified into 6 categories (n=6731), over a 12-year period. RESULTS: The results show that proportion of distress in the workforce decreases for all occupations between Cycle 1 and Cycle 7 of the NPHS, but this decrease is not linear over time. The results show also that regulated occupations present a lower probability of psychological distress only when compared with white-collar workers. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that occupation contributes little toward understanding the prevalence of psychological distress in the Canadian workforce. Further research needs are also discussed.
Keywords: Work stress, multilevel analysis, mental health