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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: Several factors that might influence the outcomes of the slip index measurements with the Horizontal Pull Slipmeter were examined. These factors were either those not clearly specified in the operating guidelines of the device or those clearly specified but with a high variability in operator compliance. The results indicated that the shoe pad thickness, sanding, alignment between the string and the force gauge, and temperature were the factors that led to significant differences at the levels…evaluated. The differences due to string stiffness, string length, duration from cleaning to friction measurement, dwell time, battery level and relative humidity did not reach a statistically significant level. Extra guidelines are needed for those factors that could result in significant variations in order to lead to more consistent results.
Abstract: The role of supervisors to aid injured workers, access health care, and provide reasonable accommodation may prevent prolonged disability among workers reporting musculoskeletal pain. Although supervisor training has been a common element of broad-based ergonomic interventions to prevent injuries, the impact of supervisor training alone to improve injury response has not been studied. In a controlled design, 11 supervisors in an intervention group and 12 supervisors in a delayed intervention control group from the same plant…were provided a 4-hour training workshop. The workshop emphasized communication skills and ergonomic accommodation for workers reporting injuries or health concerns. Workers' compensation claims data in the 7 months before and after the workshop showed a 47% reduction in new claims and an 18% reduction in active lost-time claims versus 27% and 7%, respectively, in the control group. Improving the response of frontline supervisors to employees' work-related health and safety concerns may produce sustainable reductions in injury claims and disability costs.
Keywords: Supervisor training, work injuries, disability management
Abstract: Drawing upon an original research study about the effects of fatigue on train operators, the present article focuses upon family issues as having the most significant impact on the participants. Family support, for example, represents an important mechanism for managing and coping with fatigue. Family support comprises understanding of the physiological and emotional issues surrounding shiftwork and erratic work schedules. This article explores the impact of fatigue upon a variety of family and relational…issues. This inquiry describes the impact of family on the broader employee view of managing fatigue that considers such comprehensive issues as perception of the work environment, emotional stability, personal control concerns and other positive attributes. These issues ultimately impact the health, productivity and performance of employees. Final discussion includes implications for workplace application of the research findings.
Abstract: Acceptable reliability of normalisation contractions in electromyography (EMG) is paramount for testing conducted over a number of days or if normal laboratory strength testing equipment is unavailable. This study examined the reliability of maximal voluntary isometric contractions (MVIC) and sub-maximal (60%) isometric contractions for use in neck muscle EMG studies. Surface EMG was recorded bilaterally from eight sites around the neck at C4/5 level from five healthy male subjects. Subjects performed MVIC and sub-maximal…normalisation contractions using an isokinetic dynamometer (ID) and a portable cable dynamometer with attached strain gauge (PCD) in addition to a MVIC against a manual resistance (MR). Subjects were tested in flexion, extension, left and right lateral bending and were retested by the same tester within a two-week period. Intra class correlation co-efficients (ICC) were calculated for each testing method and contraction direction and a mean ICC was calculated across all contraction directions. All normalisation methods produced excellent within-day reliability (mean ICC >0.80) but only the MVICs using the ID and PCD had acceptable reliability when assessed between-days. This study confirmed the validity of using MVICs elicited using the ID and PCD as reliable reference contractions for the normalisation of neck EMG.
Abstract: The aim of this study was to examine the reliability of the new instrument DOA – A dialogue about ability related to work . DOA was developed using the Model of Human of Occupation as a theoretical base [12,13]. The instrument is divided into two sections; client self-assessment and professional assessment focusing on the individual's ability to perform work-related activities. Assessments are followed by a dialogue to distinguish goals for the return-to-work process based on the…client's own preferences [6,14]. 34 outpatients' clients and 14 professionals from four clinics within psychiatric work rehabilitation in Sweden participated in the study. The Spearman Rank Correlation test generally showed acceptable significant correlations in test-retest (n=34). A greater part of items correlated "moderate to good" (r=0.51–0.75). In the raters' test (n=14) Percentage of agreement (PA) was good ranging between 93.1%–96.5%, which is above the acceptable criteria of 80%. There were no significance differences between the raters. The study has indicated that items in DOA work with generally good reliability to measure ability related to work. The instrument was demonstrated to be a reliable therapeutic tool in goal setting for return-to-work in a position outside of the clients' preferences.
Keywords: Client dialogue, goal setting, occupational therapy, participation, work assessments
Abstract: Background: Low back pain (LBP) is common in nurses, but it is unclear if the pain is associated with measurements of postural control. Objective measurements of function might be useful in the evaluation of patients with LBP in order to evaluate and predict disability, and in the study of the pathophysiology of chronic LBP. Methods: In a cross-sectional study, we measured the number of postural adjustments, and degree of posterior-lateral sway in 81 nurses, using…a computerized postural sway four-platter measurement system. Results: There were 41 (56.6%) nurses who complained of LBP at the time of testing, and another 12 (14.8%) with a past history of LBP. Nurses with LBP consistently used more postural adjustments to keep their balance (p<0.003), and in some positions postural adjustments were positively associated with the degree of past and present pain. LBP was not significantly associated with the degree of lateral sway. Conclusions: Nurses either with present or a past history of LBP use an increased number of postural adjustments to maintain balance. Studies are warranted to determine if postural testing can predict the development of LBP or aid in determining appropriate preventive measures.
Keywords: Low back pain, posture, sway, nurses, adjustments
Abstract: Different strategies have been used to stimulate a return to work (RTW) among individuals suffering from long-term ailments. In Sweden a new law on "resting disability pension" permits disability pensioners to go back to work without jeopardising their benefits. In this study different variables related to RTW during 2000 by means of this legislation were identified among disability pensioners with musculoskeletal disorders. Individuals in the study group, when compared to a control group, had more often…been disability pensioners for several years, had additional education, estimated their previous job to have been physically strenuous to a lesser degree, were more satisfied with the treatment at the social insurance office and had a more positive self-image. This study shows that it may be meaningful to continue/resume rehabilitation efforts and to try to motivate an individual suffering from musculoskeletal disorders to return to work even after several years as a disability pensioner.
Keywords: Disability pension, return to work, musculoskeletal disorders
Abstract: Objective: The goal of this article is to better understand how preventive measures are undertaken after training. It examines how certain variables, such as musculoskeletal pain, participant age and workstation and work content characteristics influence the reduction of postural constraints after office employees working with a computer have received ergonomics training. Methods: A pre-test/post-test design was used. The 207 female office workers were given 6 hours of ergonomics training. The variables were…determined using a self-administered questionnaire and an observation grid filled out 2 weeks before and 6 months after the training session. The FAC and HAC were used in the data processing. Results: The presence or absence of musculoskeletal pain had no statistically significant influence on whether or not postural constraints were eliminated. The age of the participants and the possibility of adjusting the workstation characteristics and work content produced differentiated results with regard to postural constraint reduction. We concluded that trained people succeed in taking relevant and effective measures to reduce the postural constraints found in VDUs. However other measures than work station adjustments lead to this prevention and such training must be strongly supported by the various hierarchical levels of an enterprise or an institution.
Abstract: This study compares aspects of the health-related behaviors and working life of first-year university students with those of their working counterparts and assesses the roles of these aspects as predictors of each groups' perceived quality of life (QoL). Subjects were taken from two cross-sectional data sets (a student survey and a population survey) from the Swedish central-western region of Östergötland. Male and female respondents aged 20–35 years were extracted and comparison were made…considering in turn socio-demographic characteristics, health-related behaviors, exposure to abusive events at work and perceived QoL. University students smoked and used oral snuff in smaller proportions, they were not as frequent drinkers as their working counterparts, but they tended to drink more when they did drink. Threats and violence were less prevalent among students, but sexual harassment, were almost as common. The strongest predictors of perceived QoL for both groups are expected and former perceived QoL, followed by current self-rated health.
Abstract: This paper contributes to the understanding of the factors that are significant for returning to work, and identifies factors that might be used early on in a period of sick leave to discern whether people are likely to work again. In the design, the multivariate Partial Least Squares (PLS) of Latent Structures method was used to analyse information from a questionnaire containing socio-demographic items, and information on symptoms, consequences on daily life, expectations and psychosocial factors.…Data about the incidence of sickness over a four-year period was included. 121 adults aged 18–64 years on sick leave participated, irrespective of their diagnoses. A reliable prediction of a return to work required the combination of many factors: individual psychosocial instruments are not useful when considered in isolation. The strongest predictive factors for a return to work concern the individuals' expectations, the number of days of sick leave taken in the past, somatic disorders, and a high level of life satisfaction and sense of coherence. Many factors influence the outcome for people on sick leave: PLS analysis demonstrated that a multivariate approach using this method could predict the long-term outcome early on in a period of sick leave.
Keywords: Sick leave, return to work, prediction, psychosocial factors, belief, self-esteem, symptoms and multivariate analysis
Abstract: Research shows that there are often problems with cooperation between rehabilitation professionals within vocational rehabilitation. The aim of this study was to describe employers' experiences of how cooperation between different rehabilitation professionals can be improved in a vocational rehabilitation planning process. Ten employers who had sent their employees to vocational rehabilitation at a rehabilitation centre in the north of Sweden during 2000 and 2001 participated in the study. Qualitative interviews were performed…and analysed by thematic content analysis. The employers' cooperation with clients could be improved by a focus on clients' needs and participation in the rehabilitation process. The employers cooperation with Social Insurance companies could be improved by, 1) early prevention and intervention, 2) knowledge of each other's roles, responsibilities and opportunities and 3) priority making. The employers' cooperation with rehabilitation professionals could be improved by, 1) early identification of rehabilitation needs and goals and early rehabilitation and, 2) increased focus on own responsibilities from each part in the process.
Keywords: Employer, cooperation, client, social insurance officers, rehabilitation professionals, rehabilitation
Abstract: Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe adolescents' low back pain, investigate its prevalence and explore its associations with backpack load, time spent carrying loads, time sitting, and time playing sports, to determine whether relationships exist among these variables. Method: One hundred urban middle school students in Manchester, New Hampshire completed a questionnaire (55% response rate). Participants were between 13–14 years old. Weights of students, loaded backpacks, backpack contents, and students' heights…were measured separately. Results: Eighty-nine percent of the participants wore the two-straps backpack. Over eighty percent of them preferred to carry the load over two shoulders. The average load weighed 4.9 kg (approximating 9.6% of the participants' body weight). There was a significant association found between backpack carrying time and adolescent' low back pain. Conclusion: Daily backpack carrying is a frequent cause of musculoskeletal discomfort for adolescents. The association between backpack carrying time and low back pain may provide the impetus for parents, teachers, and school administrators to decrease the prolonged carrying of backpacks. Further investigations should be conducted to evaluate the intervention effectiveness after implementation of controls.
Abstract: Impact loading is a major factor in the high prevalence of musculoskeletal injuries among military personnel during operational tasks. One of the therapeutic purposes of a pedorthic approach is to attenuate impact load through footwear and supportive device cushioning. The following research pilot project attempts to investigate this relationship. Vertical acceleration was collected at the fourth lumbar level in 30 members of the Canadian Forces (CF) during two ladder descents on a CF warship. Body weight,…time of descent, and a description of footwear and any additional supportive appliances were also collected. None of the evaluated variables were significantly different between members wearing standard issue footwear and medically prescribed footwear and supportive devices. Although the results of this research pilot must be viewed with caution, the preliminary findings of this pilot tends to suggest that the current pedorthic practices may not effectively reduce peak impact forces at the fourth lumbar level of the spine among CF personnel during a selected naval activity.
Abstract: Objectives: This study investigated the effects of pre-employment physical ability screening using isokinetic dynamometry in injury development, specific to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) of the knees, shoulders and back among workers in physically demanding jobs. Methods: New hires (n=503) from a large US employer's 105 industrial yards were screened to match the physical demands of their prospective jobs and tracked for up to 33 months. Results were compared to a control group of 1423 workers.…Results: There were significant reductions in the frequency and severity of musculoskeletal disorder injuries in the screened employee population. Non-screened applicants were 2.38 times more likely to experience a MSD-related overexertion injury specific to the knees, shoulders and back than screened hires (OR=2.3759; p=0.0001), and incurred 4.33 times higher cost of claims (p=0.0003). Covariates of age, pay type, race and job classification were markedly different between screened and unscreened hires. Among the screened cohort, only the more physically demanding job classifications were significant with field material handlers 7.1 times more likely to experience a non-MSD than less physically demanding workers (OR=7.1036; p=0.0063). Conclusions: Objective isokinetic pre-employment screening may significantly reduce injuries in physically demanding jobs. Employees having been effectively matched to the physical demands of their jobs may be at significantly lesser risk of injury and disability from both musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal disorders.