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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: There are no Canadian data regarding health and wellness of transport truck drivers. OBJECTIVES: We pilot-tested a survey instrument to examine the risk factors and health needs of Canadian truck drivers. METHODS: A self-administered survey was completed by truck drivers employed in 13 companies in-and-near Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The survey was developed using published tools with input from focus groups and included demographics, health issues, health service utilization, and awareness of…workplace health programs. Descriptive statistics were used to estimate prevalence of health issues and risk factors. RESULTS: 822 surveys were distributed and 406 drivers (49.4%) responded; 48.5% were 50 years and older, 96.0% were male. Diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, and lung problems were reported by 7%, 4.1%, 0.6%, 10.8% and 2.8% respectively. 96% had salt intake above the recommended daily intake, 31.5% smoked daily and the prevalence of being overweight and with poor diet was 53.2% and 48.4%. CONCLUSIONS: Prevalence of current disease was low; however, prevalence of risk factors for chronic disease was substantial. The survey was feasible to administer and provided benchmark data regarding truck drivers' perceived health. A national survey of Canadian drivers is suggested to improve generalizability and facilitate analysis for associations to poorer driver health.
Keywords: Health and wellness survey, baseline survey, transport industry, lone workers
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The construction sector has one of the worst occupational health and safety records in Europe. Of all construction tasks, formwork activities are associated with a high frequency of accidents and injuries. OBJECTIVE: This paper presents an investigation of the activities and related safety risks present in vertical formwork for in-situ concrete construction in the civil engineering sector. METHODS: Using the methodology of staticized groups, twelve activities and ten safety risks were identified and validated by…experts. Every safety risk identified in this manner was quantified for each activity using binary methodology according to the frequency and severity scales developed in prior research. A panel of experts was selected according to the relevant literature on staticized groups. RESULTS: The results obtained show that the activities with the highest risk in vertical formwork tasks are: Plumbing and leveling of forms, cutting of material, handling materials with cranes, and climbing or descending ladders. The most dangerous health and safety risks detected were falls from height, cutting and overexertion. CONCLUSIONS: The research findings provide construction practitioners with further evidence of the hazardous activities associated with concrete formwork construction and a starting point for targeting worker health and safety programmes.
Keywords: Occupational, expert panel, fall from height
Abstract: BACKGROUND: More knowledge is needed ofoccupational attainment of persons with disabilities, i.e. the relationship between their educational level and their profession, and factors of importance for this relationship. OBJECTIVE: To compare occupational attainment among persons with and without a disability. METHOD: 3396 informants with disabilities and 19 004 non-disabled informants participated (control group) in a survey study by Statistics Sweden.The informants with disabilities were divided into six groups. RESULTS: Occupational attainment did not differ between…the disability groups, neither between persons with and without a disability. Follow-up analysis showed that men with disabilities with primary or secondary school had an occupation above their educational level to a significantlylarger extent than women with disabilities. This pattern was even clearer in comparison with the control group. Persons without disabilities, with secondary or higher education, were more successful in the labor market than persons with disabilities. Occupational attainment increased with age in both groups. CONCLUSIONS: Young women with disabilities who only have primary or secondary education run a higher risk of having a job that is below their educational level than men at the same educational level. This indicates discriminating mechanisms in the society related to gender and ability.
Keywords: Discrimination, occupationalattainment, education level, self-estimated work ability
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Since 2010, French companies must integrate or retain seniors to avoid a fine of 1% of their payroll. OBJECTIVE: This work examines how to integrate the aging of employees into occupational health policies. METHODS: The literature on the complex relationships between age, work and health has been reviewed, and the feasibility of potential actions has been addressed. RESULTS: In the company setting, few diseases are specific to seniors. With retirement age postponing, chronic…diseases may appear more frequently in people still working. Physiological aging linked to a functional decline is variable. Occupational wear and tear can result in some functional deterioration. Seniors can experience difficulties coping with heavy time demands that restrict their ability to organize the work, with physical stresses due to their diminished muscular capacity, and with unconventional schedules that have long-term deleterious effects on sleep quality and alertness. CONCLUSIONS: This position paper makes recommendations for adapting work organization and occupational medical care. Protective measures for seniors should be integrated in a global approach to improving work conditions for all. Aging employees need some leeway to develop experience-based strategies for bypassing new difficulties. Revising work rhythms and developing autonomy seem to be means for progress.
Keywords: Organization of work, human resource management, autonomy, occupational physical and mental wear and tear, shift work
Abstract: BACKGROUND: There is a demand for interiors to support other activities in a car than controlling the vehicle. Currently, this is the case for the car passengers and – in the future – autonomous driving cars will also facilitate drivers to perform other activities. One of these activities is working with handheld devices. OBJECTIVE: Previous research shows that people experience problems when using handheld devices in a moving vehicle and the use of handheld…devices generally causes unwanted neck flexion [Young et al. 2012; Sin and Zu 2011; Gold et al. 2011]. In this study, armrests are designed to support the arms when using handheld devices in a driving car in order to decrease neck flexion. METHODS: Neck flexion was measured by attaching markers on the C7 and tragus. Discomfort was indicated on a body map on a scale 1–10. User experience was evaluated in a semi-structured interview. RESULTS: Neck flexion is significantly decreased by the support of the armrests and approaches a neutral position. Furthermore, overall comfort and comfort in the neck region specifically are significantly increased. Subjects appreciate the body posture facilitated by the armrests and 9 out of 10 prefer using handheld devices with the armrests compared to using handheld devices without the armrests. CONLUSION: More efforts are needed to develop the mock-up into an established product, but the angles and dimensions presented in this study could serve as guidelines.
Keywords: Discomfort, neck flexion, user experience, armrests, car seat
Abstract: BACKGROUND: High distress levels in healthcare workers in Japan may deteriorate safe service provision. OBJECTIVE: To clarify job stress of healthcare workers, we compared Brief Job Stress Questionnaire (BJSQ) scores among physicians, nursing staff and administrative workers. METHODS: Healthcare workers (n=9,137) in 20 hospitals in Japan were asked to answer BJSQ. BJSQ is job stress questionnaire to measure "Job Stressors", "Stress Responses" and "Social Supports". RESULTS: The "Total Health Risk" of the healthcare workers…was 10% higher than the national average. While the physicians felt the stress of the quantitative and qualitative job overload, they had support from supervisors and coworkers and showed mild "Stress Responses". The nursing staff felt the stress of the quantitative and qualitative job overload at the same level as the physicians, but they did not have sufficient support from supervisors and coworkers, and showed high "Stress Responses". The administrative workers did not have sufficient support from supervisors and coworkers, but they experienced less stress as measured by the quantitative and qualitative job overload than the physicians or the nursing staff and showed moderate "Stress Responses". CONCLUSIONS: Further studies are needed to clarify the mechanisms and the influence of other factors to the stress trait in healthcare workers.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Bluetooth earphones can facilitate communications among workers engaged in manual(e.g., professional driver)or visual tasks (e.g., security guard). If workers remove their Bluetooth earphones due to poor fit, then communication effectiveness will decline, especially during manual or visual tasks. OBJECTIVES: (1) To identify which design properties of Bluetooth earphones can contribute to user comfort, and (2) to identify if person characteristics (i.e., gender and ear shapes in this study) are related…to differences in comfort perception during earphone use. METHODS: 198 participants were recruited for this study.Individuals used four models of Bluetooth earphones in randomized order while performing computer tasks and then completed questionnaires on comfort perception specifically designed for this study. The 2 × 3 × 4 mixed design analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted to investigate the effects of gender, ear shape, and model condition. Results: The results indicated that there were significant differences in model on comfort perception. CONCLUSIONS: For earplugs, the shape of the earphone and the elasticity of material are important ergonomic concerns to improve the comfort perception. In addition, the adjustable tail length is an important ergonomic design property for the ear-hook. The information gained in this study should be useful in improving the ergonomic fitness of Bluetooth earphones.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Studies indicate that long-term sickness absence reduces the ability to return to work (RTW). Multidisciplinary medical assessments (MMA) have been used as a method to receive a more versatile assessment of long-term sickness absentees (LTSA) and thereby a better basis for adequate medical and vocational rehabilitation, and an increasing ability to maintain or regain work capacity. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to investigate the associations between the prognoses of LTSAs' future…work capacity made at a MMA and the assessments of their work incapacity made by the Social Insurance Offices (SIO) two years later. PARTICIPANTS: 385 LTSAs referred to an MMA by SIOs in the Stockholm area in Sweden between 2001 and 2006. METHODS: Data was collected at the MMA on demographic factors, health, diagnoses, and future work capacity. Information on SIO decisions on sickness benefits and disability pension and what measures the SIO had taken was extracted from the case files at the SIOs. Descriptive statistics and multiple regression analyses were used to assess the associations between the prognosis and decisions on benefits, controlling for individual factors. RESULTS: Of those predicted to be able to maintain or regain work capacity, 68% received full-time benefits two years later. Work capacity was negatively affected by high age, full time sickness absence at MMA and number of physical symptoms at MMA. The prognosis at the MMA was not significantly related to work capacity when socio-demographic and health factors were controlled for. However, this was partly due to the fact that the MMA also included recommendations for vocational rehabilitation and that this factor had an effect on assessed work incapacity after two years. CONCLUSION: The prognosis of future work capacity evaluated at a multidisciplinary medical assessment correlated with actual work capacity two years later. However, a range of other factors were decisive for the result. The study shows that the link between the prognosis and recommendations for vocational rehabilitation should be followed by the SIOs responsible for enhancing RTW among individuals on long-term sick leave.
Keywords: Sick leave, work capacity, disability pension, multidisciplinary medical assessment
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCEs) are routinely used in physical medicine to ascertain an individual's work ability; with lift capacity being an important aspect of many evaluations. Despite the widespread use of lift capacity tests, there are few studies that provide age and gender normative data. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the safety, reliability, and validity of the EPIC Lift Capacity test, and to examine the effects of age and gender on lift capacity.…METHODS: This study used a test-retest design with 4,443 adult participants in good general health. Test-retest of participants' lift capacity was undertaken to examine safety and reliability. Age and gender and the self-reported physical demands of each employed participant's usual and customary job were collected to examine validity. RESULTS: Safety and reliability were demonstrated for both measures of lift capacity for each of the six sub-tests in the EPIC Lift Capacity test battery. Inter-subtest differences and expected age and gender differences were found across all subtests. CONCLUSIONS: The EPIC Lift Capacity test is a safe and reliable test of lift capacity.Normative data are presented that allow comparison within age and gender categories.
Keywords: Functional Capacity Evaluation, test safety, test reliability, norms, normal values