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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: Workers in the animal slaughter and processing industry in the United States experience high rates of occupational injury as well as stressful work conditions, yet mental health in this workforce remains largely unstudied. OBJECTIVE: To assess prevalence of serious psychological distress (SPD) in a sample of industrial US slaughterhouse workers. PARTICIPANTS: Workers at an industrial beef packing plant in Nebraska, United States (n = 137). METHODS: We interviewed workers using the Kessler-6, a well-validated measure of non-specific anxiety disorders, to assess SPD. We compared SPD prevalence with national estimates from 2009 CDC’s Behavioral…Risk Factor Surveillance Study. RESULTS: Prevalence of SPD among workers was 4.4%, compared to United States population-wide prevalence of 3.6%. Prevalence of mild and moderate psychological distress among these workers (14.6%) was also higher than national estimates. Recent occupational injury, work area and job activities were not associated with elevated prevalence of SPD. Non-Hispanic white workers experienced elevated prevalence of SPD compared to Hispanic or Latino workers (prevalence odds ratio: 6.4; CI: 1.3, 30.5; p = 0.012). CONCLUSION: Workers at a US industrial slaughterhouse experienced higher prevalence of SPD compared to United States population-wide estimates, but occupational risk factors for this outcome were not identified.
Keywords: Abattoir, stress, agricultural workers, occupational health psychology, occupational injury
vol. Preprint, no. Preprint, pp. 1-5, 2017
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Exposure to violence in the mental health sector both affects employees and has implications for the quality of care provided. OBJECTIVE: This phenomenological study aims to describe and understand the ways in which acts of aggression from a patient might affect workers in a psychiatric institute, their relationships with the patients and the services offered. METHODS: Two semi-structured interviews were conducted with each of the 15 participants from various professions within a psychiatric hospital. RESULTS: Our analysis reveals four themes: hypervigilance, caring, specific fear toward the aggressor and generalized fear of all…patients. A state of hypervigilance is found among all participants. An emphasis on caring is present among the majority and unfolds as a continuum, ranging from being highly caring to showing little or no caring. A feeling of fear is expressed and is influenced by the participant’s place on the caring continuum. Caring workers developed a specific fear of their aggressor, whereas those showing little or no caring developed a generalized fear of all patients. Following a violent event, caring participants maintained this outlook, whereas those demonstrating little to no caring were more inclined to disinvest from all patients. CONCLUSIONS: Hypervigilance and fear caused by experiences of violence impact the quality of care provided. Considerable interest should thus be paid to caring, which can influence fear and its effects.
Keywords: Phenomenology, quality of care, workplace, aggression
vol. Preprint, no. Preprint, pp. 1-13, 2017
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Return to work is an issue of concern for stroke survivors and their spouses. Ramifications may include loss of income and self-efficacy. OBJECTIVE: This study describes the return to work patterns of stroke survivors and their spousal caregivers post stroke. METHODS: One hundred fifty-nine dyads were examined for their return to work patterns at baseline (post hospital discharge) and then at 3 month intervals for one year. Relationships were determined between work and gender, age, ethnicity, education, type of insurance, type of stroke, location of stroke, motor and cognitive functional status, depression, mutuality, and…life satisfaction. RESULTS: Low levels of return to work by stroke survivors (7.5%) and a small decrease in the amount of working caregivers (from 45.3% to 40.35%) were found one year post baseline. Variables that predicted return to work changed over the five data points except for younger age for the caregiver, which was consistently significant across all data points. Three case scenarios representative of working patterns are offered. CONCLUSIONS: Further research is needed regarding the return to work needs of stroke survivors and their spousal caregivers, particularly what role the occupational therapist may play in facilitating that process.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Understanding the reliability and precision of the data obtained using three-dimensional body scanners is very important if it is intended to replace the traditional data collection methods. If the collection of anthropometric data with three-dimensional body scanners is a fast and reliable process that produces precise data at a low price, it could be used for numerous applications worldwide. Many studies have addressed data collected by white light and laser based scanners. OBJECTIVE: This study provides a comparative analysis between the anthropometric data collected using a Kinect body imaging system with the data collected using traditional…manual methods. Moreover, a comparison is also made between the results obtained in this study and the results of previous studies of different types of body scanners. METHODS: The Mean Absolute Difference was calculated and all the values were compared to the maximum allowable error defined in ISO 20685. Additionally, an analysis of the significant differences between the two acquisition methods was also applied to a physical mannequin, to understand how the body movement and body stance variation in human participants impacts the results obtained. RESULTS: There are few body measurements that are close to this restricted allowable error. The results were better when the mannequin was measured. Although they were still above the ISO 20685 limit, they were much closer than the results obtained for human participants. CONCLUSION: The main cause of the differences between the two methods is the time required for the 3D system to acquire the data. The involuntary body sway of human participants is more difficult to control when the time span is too long.
Keywords: Traditional anthropometry, 3D body scanners, Kinect, reliability, precision
vol. Preprint, no. Preprint, pp. 1-13, 2017
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The increase in air temperature has been associated with human deaths, some of which are related to cardiovascular dysfunctions, and with the reduction of physical and cognitive performance in humans. OBJECTIVE: To analyze the relationship between blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) and the cognitive performance of students who were submitted to temperature changes in classrooms. METHODS: The university students answered a survey that was adapted from the Battery of Reasoning Tests over 3 consecutive days at different air temperatures while their thermal state and HR were measured. During those 3 days, BP…and HR were evaluated before and after the cognitive test. RESULTS: The average and final HR increased at high temperatures; the tests execution time was reduced at high temperatures; and the cognitive tests was related to Mean BP at the beginning of the test, the maximum HR during the test and the air temperature. CONCLUSIONS: The cognitive performance of undergraduate students in the field of engineering and technology will increase while performing activities in a learning environment with an air temperature of approximately 23.3°C (according to their thermal perception), if students have an initial MBP of 93.33 mmHg and a 60 bpm HRmax.
Keywords: Thermal comfort, thermoregulation, cognitive activity, productivity, cardiovascular system
vol. Preprint, no. Preprint, pp. 1-12, 2017
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Computer works are associated with Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs). There are several methods have been developed to assess computer work risk factor related to MSDs. OBJECTIVE: This review aims to give an overview of current techniques available for pen-and-paper-based observational methods in assessing ergonomic risk factors of computer work. METHODS: We searched an electronic database for materials from 1992 until 2015. The selected methods were focused on computer work, pen-and-paper observational methods, office risk factors and musculoskeletal disorders. This review was developed to assess the risk factors, reliability and validity of pen-and-paper observational method associated…with computer work. Two evaluators independently carried out this review. RESULTS: Seven observational methods used to assess exposure to office risk factor for work-related musculoskeletal disorders were identified. The risk factors involved in current techniques of pen and paper based observational tools were postures, office components, force and repetition. From the seven methods, only five methods had been tested for reliability. They were proven to be reliable and were rated as moderate to good. For the validity testing, from seven methods only four methods were tested and the results are moderate. CONCLUSION: Many observational tools already exist, but no single tool appears to cover all of the risk factors including working posture, office component, force, repetition and office environment at office workstations and computer work. Although the most important factor in developing tool is proper validation of exposure assessment techniques, the existing observational method did not test reliability and validity. Futhermore, this review could provide the researchers with ways on how to improve the pen-and-paper-based observational method for assessing ergonomic risk factors of computer work.
Keywords: Pen-and-paper-based, observational methods, ergonomic, risk factors, computer works
vol. Preprint, no. Preprint, pp. 1-9, 2017
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Workplace violence is a serious concern for workers’ mental health and well-being in high risk work sectors. OBJECTIVE: This study examined victims’ and witnesses’ experiences after exposure to workplace violence, and the types of help they used to cope with the violent event. METHODS: Workers (n = 211) from five different work sectors participated in our study. Multiple mediation analysis was used to investigate the indirect effects through psychological and work consequences on victims’ versus witnesses’ differential likelihood of using formal, paraformal and informal helping. RESULTS: Results showed that workplace violence has detrimental…effects on both victims and witnesses. Direct victims were more negatively affected psychologically and at work than witnesses. The indirect effect through psychological difficulty after experiencing workplace violence was significant in predicting formal helping. The indirect effect through reduced work functioning in predicting paraformal helping was also significant. No significant indirect effect was found in predicting informal helping. CONCLUSIONS: Both victims and witnesses used multiple types of helping to cope with the violent event. This study has practical implications on management and clinical practices for better organizations of resources in helping victims and witnesses to cope with workplace violence.