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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: It is well established that environmental factors can have impact upon an injured person's recovery and return-to-work outcomes. To date, there has been no cohesive model to provide theoretical understanding of the way in which these divergent factors combine to create disability behaviours. OBJECT: Development of a conceptual model for understanding the development of disability behavior. METHODS: Interpolation from existing neuroplasticity theory to observed behaviors and studies of behavior in the…workers' compensation environment, including existing research concerning predictors for disability. RESULTS: The paper describes a conceptual model for understanding instances of disability that are not necessarily attributable to physical harm. Preliminary testing provides support for the model. CONCLUSIONS: Factors that contribute to the formation of a neural network supporting the behavior of learned disability are described. From that description, intervention methods to prevent or resolve so-called "needless disability" are discussed.
Keywords: Neuroplasticity, disability management, return to work
vol. Preprint, no. Preprint, pp. 1-12, 2013
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Due to the growth of information in the urban rail environment, there is a need to better understand the ergonomics profile underpinning visual behaviour in the substantive train driver. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to examine the tasks and activities of urban/metropolitan passenger train drivers in order to better understand the nature of the visual demands in their task activities. METHODS: Data were collected from 34 passenger train drivers in four different Australian states.…The research approach used a novel participative ergonomics methodology that fused interviews and observations with generative tools. Data analysis was conducted thematically. RESULTS: Results suggested participants did not so much drive their trains, as manage the intensity of visually demanding work held in their environment. The density of this information and the opacity of the task, invoked an ergonomics profile more closely aligned with diagnostic and error detection than actual train regulation. CONCLUSIONS: The paper discusses the relative proportion of strategies corresponding with specific tasks, the visual-perceptual load in substantive activities, and the requisite visual skills behoving navigation in the urban rail environment. These findings provide the basis for developing measures of complexity to further specify the visual demands in passenger train driving.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: In the United States, adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) experience high rates of unemployment and underemployment in relation to adults with other disabilities and the general population. Yet there is little research examining their employment experiences and the predictors of employment status. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to examine the employment characteristics and histories of both employed and unemployed adults with ASD, and the factors that contributed to their employment status. METHODS: This cross-sectional study used an online survey and the Short Effort Reward Imbalance (ERI) Scale to…gather data. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to examine predictors of employment status and self-reported health. RESULTS: Of the 254 adults with ASD who participated in this study, 61.42% were employed and 38.58% were unemployed. Over half of the participants reported job imbalance on the Short ERI Scale and the vast majority did not receive any job assistance. Participants who disclosed their ASD diagnosis to their employer were more than three times as likely to be employed than those who did not disclose. Education level was also a significant predictor of employment status. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests disability disclosure and education level are factors that contribute to employment status.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: There are recent studies using new industrial workers’ anthropometric data in different countries, but for Serbia such data are not available. OBJECTIVE: This study is the first anthropometric study of Serbian metal industry workers in the country, whose labor force is increasingly employed both on local and international markets. The metal industry is one of Serbia’s most important economic sectors. METHODS: To this end, we collected the basic static anthropometric dimensions of 122 industrial workers and used principal components analysis (PCA) to obtain multivariate anthropometric models. To confirm the results, the…dimensions of an additional 50 workers were collected. The PCA methodology was also compared with the percentile method. RESULTS: Comparing both data samples, we found that 96% of the participants are within the tolerance ellipsoid. According to this study, multivariate modeling covers a larger extent of the intended population proportion compared to percentiles. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this research are useful for the designers of metal industry workstations. This information can be used in dimensioning the workplace, thus increasing job satisfaction, reducing the risk of injuries and fatalities, and consequently increasing productivity and safety.
Keywords: Anthropometric measurements, principal components analysis, percentiles
vol. Preprint, no. Preprint, pp. 1-9, 2017
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Many research studies require recruiting heat-acclimatized workers to participate in heat-stress experiments and application fields. A reliable heat acclimatization program for workers in countries with hot environments has not been reported yet. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to estimate the effects of heat stress and the amount of acclimatization required in hot-climate countries. METHODS: Eighteen male workers from an industrial population participated in this experiment. Nine days of exposure to a hot environment (wet-bulb globe temperature, 30°C) was the independent variable. The participants’ cardiac costs and increment aural-canal temperatures…were the dependent variables. RESULTS: The study results revealed that 5 days of exposure to heat sessions were sufficient to heat acclimatize the workers based on their physiological responses (i.e., heart rate and aural-canal temperature). CONCLUSIONS: According to the available literature, workers in hot climate countries, similar to the study cohort, can heat acclimatize faster than those in other Western countries.
Keywords: Heat stress, heat strain, hot climate, thermal environments, cardiac cost, wet-bulb globe temperature
vol. Preprint, no. Preprint, pp. 1-5, 2017
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Workplace violence (WPV) has been associated with turnover intentions and reduced job satisfaction, yet the mechanisms behind such associations are still nebulous. Studying the way people make sense of their work in the context of WPV could lead to a better understanding of its consequences. PURPOSE: The objective of this exploratory study is to identify key features of meaning of work (MOW) in a group of healthcare workers and explain how these features can change following an act of WPV. METHODS: Researchers recruited 15 healthcare workers (11 women – 4 men)…who had previously been the victim of a serious physical or sexual assault by a patient. A phenomenological approach was used. RESULTS: Two main themes were identified: MOW and relationships with others and MOW and relationship with the self. WPV might have the potential to trigger negative changes in the way some workers perceive their colleagues, their patients and their organisation. It can also interfere with their sense of self-accomplishment; all workers however, were still able to find positive meaning in ‘contribution’ and ‘autonomy’. CONCLUSION: WPV has the potential to change certain aspects of MOW that could help explain why WPV is associated with lowered job satisfaction, compassion fatigue, and higher turnover. Also, finding meaning through contribution and autonomy can be a form of resilience.
Keywords: Workplace violence, health personnel, job satisfaction, resilience, professional burnout
vol. Preprint, no. Preprint, pp. 1-13, 2017
Abstract: BACKGROUND : Rope access technique is an alternative method for gaining access to challenging work locations. There is limited knowledge about possible adverse effects of this technique on the workers’ health. OBJECTIVE: To compare the frequency of bodily regions with pain in rope access technicians with craft workers and the working population in general. METHODS: The one-month prevalence of pain in the head, neck, distal upper extremities, lower back and lower extremities was recorded in rope access technicians (n = 95), “craft workers” (n = 289) and “all occupations” (n = 1563). RESULTS:…An increased prevalence of pain in the neck, distal upper extremities and lower extremities was found for the rope access technicians compared with all occupations (p -values <0.01). Compared with the craft workers, relatively more rope access technicians reported pain in the lower extremity region (p <0.01) while the groups were similar for the other body regions. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of pain in the lower extremities was higher in rope access technicians compared with craft workers, while no differences were found for other body regions. The increased prevalence of pain in the neck and distal upper extremities in the technicians compared with all occupations may therefore be related to the work tasks and not the access technique.
Keywords: Rope access technique, harness rig, health complaints, musculoskeletal
vol. Preprint, no. Preprint, pp. 1-10, 2017
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Active Design is a relatively new concept and evaluation on its effects on healthy behaviour is lacking. OBJECTIVE: To investigate Active Design influence on workplace physical activity, sedentary behaviour, musculoskeletal complaints, and perceptions of the workplace and productivity. METHODS: Participants (n = 118 adults) moving from 14 workplaces into a new building completed an online questionnaire pre- and post-move. The questions related to health behaviours (physical activity, sitting time and sleep); musculoskeletal issues; perceptions of the office environment; productivity; and engagement. RESULTS: After the move, 68% of participants were…located in an open plan building (21% before the move). In the new workplace participants tended to sit less during their work time (72% – 66% ; p < 0.05) and stand more (15% – 19% ; p < 0.05) while walking remained unchanged. Participants reported less lower-back pain. The new work environment was perceived as more motivating and providing better light, air quality and temperature, but less storage space. Participants reported looking forward to going to work more than before. No difference was reported in productivity related measures. CONCLUSIONS: Moving to a new Active Design building can have some physical health-promoting effects on occupants. Satisfaction with environmental characteristics tended to improve in the new building though perceptions of productivity measures were variable.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: To establish a Physical Employment Standard for tasks with high physical demands, it is important to determine the physiological requirements. One such task for the UK Coastguard is mud rescue. OBJECTIVE: To quantify the physiological demand of pulling a rescue sled across estuary mud, and determine whether rescuer experience has an impact on the physiological demand of this task. METHODS: Forty participants walked 150 m in 3 minutes across estuary mud. Following 3 minute rest, they walked 150 m pulling a rescue sled (61 kg) in pairs (based on experience). RESULTS:…Experienced rescuers had a total oxygen consumption approximately 24% lower than those inexperienced in the task. Relative oxygen consumption (V ̇ O2 ) was significantly (p < 0.05) greater in the non-experienced (mean [SD]; 42.90 [6.55 ] mL.kg–1 .min–1 ) compared to the experienced group (32.85 [5.79 ] mL.kg–1 .min–1 ) when controlled for pace. Required V ̇ O2 for various speeds were predicted based on non-experienced participants and assessed for agreement. LoA (95%) mean±difference was 0.0003 ± 3.48 mL.kg–1 .min–1 , with a CV of 2.30% . CONCLUSIONS: For tasks that require a high relative V ̇ O2 , such as mud rescue, the minimum level of fitness at entry should be based upon the metabolic demands measured on those who are inexperienced.
Keywords: Physical employment standards, occupational tasks, physiological demands of
vol. Preprint, no. Preprint, pp. 1-7, 2017