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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: Purpose: Occupational computer use has been associated with upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders among working-age adults, but little is known about computer-related musculoskeletal problems among college students. We carried out a descriptive epidemiological study of computer use-associated symptoms, functional limitations, and medication and health care utilization in this population. Subjects and methods: Cross-sectional survey of 240 undergraduates in the second through fourth years at a residential dormitory at a four-year college with…random housing assignments. Results: 194 students returned useable surveys (81% response rate). 42% reported upper extremity pain or discomfort when using a computer in the preceding two weeks. 41% said this pain or discomfort caused functional limitation and 9% said that these symptoms hindered academic or extracurricular performance. 23% reported taking medications for upper extremity pain related to computing (4% regularly) and 16% had seen a health care provider for computer-related symptoms. Female students, students of racial/ethnic minority groups, and students who experienced symptoms with ≤ 1 hour of computer use were more likely to report symptom-related functional limitation than others. Conclusion: College students report high rates of computer use-associated upper extremity musculoskeletal symptoms and symptom-related functional limitation. Future studies should more closely examine exposure, demographic, and ergonomic correlates of these symptoms and outcomes.Purpose:
Keywords: musculoskeletal, college, computer, functional status, health care utilization
Abstract: For the past two years, the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Haifa has offered an online course to third year occupational therapists on the topic of Ergonomics for Health Care Professionals. The development and implementation of this course was funded by the Israeli Ministry of Education. Unique teaching materials, developed and uploaded to the University's server via "High Learn", included interactive and self-directed documents containing graphics, animations, and video clips. Extensive use was…made of the discussion forum and survey tools, and students submitted all assignments online. For the final topic, an expert in ergonomics from Boston University delivered a lecture via two-way videoconferencing. The course site included comprehensive library listings in which all bibliographic materials were made available online. Students accessed course materials at the University in a computer classroom and at home via modem. In an accompanying research study, the frequency of student usage of the various online tools was tracked and extensive data were collected via questionnaires documenting students' demographic background, preferred learning style, prior usage of technology, satisfaction with the course and academic achievement. This paper focuses on the results of the research study that examined how the students responded to and coped with teaching material presented and accessed in this format.
Abstract: Body mechanic checklist scores during a one-person pivot transfer, and boosting up in bed were evaluated to determine the effectiveness of training on the work performance of female student nurses from a local college. Thirty subjects participated in the study and were divided into a control group, an experimental group that received basic body mechanic training, and an experimental group that received job specific training. A one-way ANCOVA was calculated to examine the effects of the…experimental procedures on the subjects' performance. This revealed a statistically significant difference between the groups (patient transfer F = 10.11, p value < 0.001; boosting F = 38.62, p value < 0.001). A post hoc analysis (Bonferroni procedure) indicated that the job specific training group (mean 11.65, SD 0.66) demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in their performance compared to the other two groups (control group mean 7.5, SD 0.67; BBMT mean 9.66, SD 0.67).
Abstract: Work in construction is associated with a high risk for musculoskeletal disorders and injuries. The symptom survey was conducted to determine the magnitude and musculoskeletal injury characteristics among the cement and concrete workers and identify the most problematic work-related activities and job factors that might have contributed to the occurrence of these disorders. Findings revealed that a large proportion of the laborers (77%) experienced at least one musculoskeletal disorder in the last year. Low…back pain was reported as the most frequently experienced symptom (66%). 'Working while in pain' the concrete workers perceived as the major problem in the trade. Other problematic work-related activities included 'bending or twisting the back', 'work in hot, cold or wet conditions', and 'handling heavy objects'. Most of the laborers (82%) requested on-the-job safety training. Survey results combined with the outcomes of focus groups discussions and work site observations were used in the design of a training program aimed at the prevention of musculoskeletal morbidity in the trade. The program incorporated ergonomics principles, hazard recognition, safe work practices, problem solving and personal protection in the training curriculum for membership of the trade.
Keywords: work-related musculoskeletal disorders, construction industry, cement and concrete workers, musculoskeletal symptoms, surveillance, worker perception, job exposure rating, musculoskeletal profile, injury prevention, ergonomic training
Abstract: Underemployment of people with visual impairments is an important problem in the world of work. Barriers to successful employment include the lack of informed decision making concerning AT as a workplace accommodation. Choosing effective Assistive Technology (AT) as an accommodation solution is imperative to successful employment of individuals with vision impairments. While not all jobs require AT as a part of an accommodation, when AT is needed, an informed choice is the best approach. This article…describes the five step process for selecting appropriate AT for individuals with vision impairments in workplace accommodations developed by the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). Cases from the JAN database that involve people with vision impairments were examined. Resources to enable readers to further evaluate and implement effective AT solutions are provided.
Abstract: Sixteen full-time clerical and office workers participated in this prospective parallel-randomized trial. Intervention consisted of four hours of individualized training through a multi-faceted injury prevention program. In Phase I, musculoskeletal symptoms, stress, and energy levels were measured before and after intervention. Differences between Group A (intervention) and Group B (control) were described; pre to post differences between members within each group were also described . In Phase II, there were a greater…number of statistically and clinically relevant differences within Group A at week 16 (eleven weeks following intervention) than at week five (immediately post-intervention). The eyes, neck, shoulder, elbow-forearm, and wrist-hand were impacted most positively by intervention, however, the frequency and intensity of headaches increased. Stress and energy level differences were minimal. Group B workers received intervention during weeks 18–21. Differences in average measures from pre to immediately post-intervention were greater within Group B than Group A. Both groups reported fewer sick days during the month of intervention than during pre and post-intervention months.
Abstract: Work-related rehabilitation services have changed in nature and scope since their inception in the late 1970s. A review of the literature reveals a large body of published data concerning the various approaches used by therapists in this practice area, but a limited number of comparison studies documenting the value of one approach over the other. This national survey of physical and occupational therapists in the US was conducted in 2002, and examined the prevailing trends in…service provision, and factors that determine the nature of services provided to clients. Results indicate that services continue the move to onsite service provision and an emphasis on prevention, but that select services, such as onsite job analysis and comprehensive, inter-disciplinary programs are being used to a limited degree. Research that examines the relative contributions of selected work-related services to successful and efficient return to work outcomes is necessary to identify best practice approaches. Therapists and insurance providers should work more closely in exchange of data that will ensure optimal program design and funding.
Abstract: Adequate and reliable methods for evaluation of clients with work disabilities are crucial for both the individuals who are assessed and for society as a whole. Sound and precise work assessments are needed to guide clients to suitable interventions using a minimum of rehabilitation resources [31,46,51,68]. Occupational therapy literature contains evidence that work function assessments are complex and that there is confusion over work assessment concepts [30,31]. Therefore, further development and evaluation…of adequate concepts and theoretical models within the area of work assessment is needed [68,74]. This article proposes a conceptual framework for different dimensions of work functioning and points out important factors for work assessment. The concepts proposed and defined in the article are: work functioning, work participation, work performance, and individual capacity.
Abstract: In recent years sickness absence has increased in most Western countries. Risk factors for sickness absence and disability pension have been emphasised in studies, while focus on factors predicting low sickness absence is very rare. This paper is an attempt to apply such a perspective in an 11-year prospective cohort study of young persons n = 213) who in 1985 were sick listed ≥ 28 days with back, neck, or shoulder diagnoses. Having had no sick-leave…spells > 14 days in 1992–1996 was used as the outcome measure. Sixty-nine persons (34%) had no such spells, with an unexpected similar proportion of men and women. Data on prior sick leave and demographic variables were analysed using univariate and multiple logistic regression. Factors that predicted low sickness absence were having prior low sickness absence, being a white-collar worker, and being married. We concluded that individuals with a history of low sickness absence have an increased odds for remaining in the work force after a single long sick-leave spell, and might need less attention in rehabilitation compared to persons with a history of high sickness absence. Focusing on low sickness absence led to different results than those discussed in previous studies on risk factors for disability pension.
Keywords: sick leave, musculoskeletal diagnoses, back pain