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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: As we enter the 21st century, technology has revolutionized the workplace, as nearly half of the working population in the United States currently uses a computer at work. Although computers continue to effectively improve productivity in the workplace, the adverse effects of prolonged computer use on the musculoskeletal system cannot go unnoticed. The astounding rise in computer use in the last decade has been paralleled by a rise in work-related musculoskeletal disorders due to repetitive typing…or key entry. Because national ergonomic standards aimed at reducing these injuries have not yet been enforced, the prevention of this national health problem lies in the hands of health care professionals. The following will outline a comprehensive health promotion program, based on Green and Kreuter's PRECEDE-PROCEED model, to serve as an example of how health professionals across the nation can begin to effectively prevent this astronomical problem.
Abstract: Background: Falls from heights, including falls from nonmoving trucks, are a known cause of serious workplace injuries [1,2,4,6,7,14,15]. Subsequent to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) of Ontario implementing an industry sector management approach for service delivery the principle author noted a number of serious injuries as a consequence of falls from trucks or truck trailers. A literature search revealed limited articles, specifically relating to injuries sustained in falls from trucks or truck…trailers. It was therefore decided to further investigate the scope of the problem. Methods: A search of the Province of Ontario, Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) database for the year 1997 was conducted to identify all claims, within the Transportation Sector, where a reported accident had been classified as a fall from a non-moving vehicle. The data extracted from identified claims constitutes the basis of this study. There were 1026 claims initially identified. Each identified claim was reviewed to determine if the study entry criteria; (1) a fall occurred and (2) the fall originated from a truck, its trailer or the cargo, were met. Of the identified claims 352 met the study inclusion criteria. A retrospective file review was conducted on each claim entered into the study and the study variables recorded on a predefined data sheet. Results: The most frequent sites of falls were the back of the truck or trailer, the truck step and the cargo being transported. More than one injury was sustained by 23.6% of the study population. The major injuries identified included; 214 strains/sprains, 117 contusions and 101 fractures. One year post accident 89.4% of the study population had returned to work, of these 84.9% were on full duties and the remaining 4.5% were on modified duties. The total costs associated with the 352 injured workers included in this study amounted to $5,313,901.27. Interpretation: Falls from trucks often result in significant injuries with considerable periods of disability and related costs. As falls from three specific locations i.e. the back of trucks/trailer, the cargo and the truck step made up 83% of the total falls efforts at prevention might best be directed to further investigate causal factors involved in the falls from these high frequency areas. A prospective study, including a detailed interview, with workers suffering a fall from a truck would assist in understanding factors that contribute to falls from trucks or truck trailers.
Keywords: work related injuries, return to work, costs, environmental factors
Abstract: Loss of work capacity through illness or injury may result in loss of employment. The transition to durable employment with those reduced capacities poses many challenges. This paper is based on phenomenological research into the experiences of 13 people who had a disabling injury or chronic illness. These participants lost their capacity for their former employment. After a period of time, extending up to 14 years, the participants successfully changed employment in the open labor market,…and retained their current employment for 13 weeks or longer. Data from in excess of 30 hours of in-depth semi-structured individual interviews and a focus group were transcribed and analyzed inductively. Analysis was aided by immersion in the data, reflections on entries in a researcher's log, and a computer program for analyzing textual data. Eleven psychosocial themes emerged. These themes were: pain, intense emotions, determination, financial concerns, role models, concealment, assistance, control, self-concept, satisfaction with employment, and personal change. Each theme is presented with representative text from participants and implications for work rehabilitation professionals. Further research to identify the extent of transferability of the findings is recommended.
Keywords: durable employment, psychosocial, work capacity, phenomenology, qualitative
Abstract: Objectives. To explore the work experiences of three individuals who have chronic non-cancer pain and to identify factors which may affect their ability to remain in employment. Methods. Three cases were selected from a data set of six, to illustrate distinct employment history scenarios. All participants had a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. Data was gathered using semi-structured, in-depth interviews that were audiotaped and later transcribed for qualitative, content analysis. Themes identified were those which related…to employment experiences and appeared to be important factors influencing the retention of work. Findings. Four main themes were identified: the nature of physical barriers to employment, autonomy at work, social networks, and the importance and motivation to remain in employment. Conclusion. These findings support existing research in relation to chronic pain and employment in general and expands upon the nature and importance of social support at work. It is suggested that the qualitative methodology illustrated here, which explores the perspectives of those still in employment (as well as those who have stopped working) may be a useful approach to investigating this important area of research.
Keywords: chronic pain, case study, rheumatoid arthritis, and social support
Abstract: Gender discrimination in the work place has been widely reported. Women are usually discriminated against both with respect to level of occupation and salary. The current study explored the correlation between gender and employment among adults with mental retardation, specifically, whether gender discrimination in the work place is as prominent among people with mental retardation as in the general population. Level of occupation and salary earned were studied in 227 adults with mild and moderate mental…retardation residing in institutions, hostels, and sheltered homes in Israel. The findings suggest a correlation between gender and employment similar to that in the general population. Women were found to be employed mainly in sheltered workshops and lower levels of occupation, and to earn significantly less than the men. However, closer examination of each work place revealed that within each level of occupation there were no significant gender differences in salary. The finding suggests that while women with mental retardation earn lower salaries than men, this is mainly the result of their lower level of occupation. Rehabilitation efforts should therefore be directed toward ensuring higher levels of occupation as well as community employment among women with mental retardation.
Abstract: This study examined the construct validity of the newly developed instrument A Dialogue About Ability Related To Work (DOA). DOA  was developed using concepts from the Model of Human Occupation  as theoretical framework. The instrument assumes the assessment of work ability by both the client and the occupational therapist, and is followed by a dialogue which is expected to distinguish possible goal-setting for further rehabilitation [18,19]. Twenty-one professionals and 126 clients from…three clinics in Sweden participated in the study. All clients were involved as outpatients in psychiatric work rehabilitation in county councils or community services. Results of a Rasch analysis test indicated that items are well separated and generally work together in five unidimensional continuums to measure work ability. Twenty-nine of 34 items showed goodness-of-fit statistics, which means acceptable infit MnSq values from ≥ 0.6 to ≤ 1.4 in association with Z values from -2 to 2. The five misfit items have to be revised. The study has indicated that DOA is a valid instrument in psychiatric work rehabilitation and ought to be useful in the dialogue between occupational therapists and clients about goalsetting and treatment planning.
Keywords: work ability, assessment, psychiatric disability, occupational therapy, client dialogue, Rasch measurement model
Abstract: Objectives: The purpose of this study was to understand the current beliefs of therapists in Australia, and the strategies they use to address the issues of credibility, reliability, consistency, trustworthiness, validity, generalisability and quality in conducting work-related assessments. Study design: In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 26 occupational therapists and physiotherapists from around Australia. Findings: Participants expressed the belief that the therapist was the assessment instrument and was central to the credibility…of an assessment. Conflict was reported when participants modified standardised assessments in an attempt to focus on context relevant activities and tasks. Participants were aware of the issues of reliability and validity but believed it was not practical to establish these aspects formally in most work-related assessments. The strategies used to achieve credibility, reliability, consistency, trustworthiness, validity, generalisability and quality were similar to those recommended for use in qualitative research. Conclusions: The strategies identified in this study can provide the basis for therapists to examine how they conduct work-related assessments and consider whether they currently use these strategies or have the opportunity to implement others.
Abstract: Continuous passive motion (CPM) has been proposed as a method to help individuals with low back pain cope with prolonged sitting. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects that a commercially available CPM device had on lumbar and thoracic erector spinae (ES) muscle activation (using surface electromyography, 'EMG'), and on subjective discomfort during prolonged seated computer work with and without the use of the CPM device. There were no significant differences in average…ES muscle activation levels, amplitude probability distribution functions, and EMG gaps number and length when sitting with the CPM device was compared to sitting normally. Subjective ratings of discomfort were also not significantly different between the two sitting conditions. The results indicated that there were no clear mechanisms by which the CPM device may reduce ES muscle pain and fatigue for the tasks and pain-free individuals studied.
Abstract: The prevalence of diagnosed cumulative trauma disorders (CTD) within the workforce comes at a high price for employers burdened with financial losses from missed work and worker's compensation costs. Research has focused primarily on the impact of CTD on the worker role within the workplace, overlooking the impact on roles across multiple environments [24,35,54]. Furthermore, the influence of CTD on life roles of a spouse has not been examined. This single case study illustrated the experience…of CTD within a marital relationship through the use of grounded theory. Results indicated that adaptations to CTD symptoms were least altering to the established routines and roles of the couple. With progression of symptoms, the spouse without symptoms was relied on more heavily for adaptations to manage pain. The results of this study indicate that occupational therapists must examine the client's valued roles and incorporate the family into intervention strategies.
Abstract: Musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace cause thousands of injuries and cost industry billions of dollars yearly. Work injury prevention programs have been developed and implemented as a means for cost containment. A variety of preventive strategies have been investigated in primary research. The purpose of this review article is to examine the effectiveness of back injury and pain prevention programs in the workplace. Nine studies published between 1995 and 2000 were reviewed and analyzed. Studies used…primarily one of three types of preventive strategies: 1) back belts, 2) education and task modification, and 3) education and task modification with workstation redesign. The effectiveness of back belts to prevent back pain and injury remains inconclusive. Positive outcomes were associated with studies reporting high compliance that used job-specific and individualized/small group education and training approaches. Themes that arose following a critical review of primary research studies are discussed.
Abstract: This paper is based on a qualitative study of employment for people with mental illness. Forty-one consumers of mental health services were interviewed to obtain their perspectives on employment. One of the major issues they discussed was the ways in which mental illness affected their employment experiences. These effects were complex and interrelated and varied between individuals depending on their unique characteristics and circumstances. Participants described effects relating to the need to maintain mental health,…difficulties with work performance, and work confidence and work goals. Understanding consumers' perspectives on how mental illness affects employment is necessary for practitioners and researchers seeking to explain or improve consumers' employment outcomes.
Keywords: mental health service consumers, employment, qualitative research