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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: For people with disabilities, work remains the best route to independence and enacting one's own choices. Assistive technology (AT) is often crucial in removing barriers to employment, and in enabling workers with disabilities to work more productively. A participatory action research project known as Community Research for Assistive Technology surveyed people with disabilities using Independent Living Centers throughout California, in part to identify barriers to employment and study use of job-related AT to overcome…such barriers. Across disability groups, disability itself was cited as the primary barrier to employment, with potential loss of benefits and lack of education cited as secondary barriers. A majority of working respondents reported using assistive technology (such as adapted telephones, wheelchairs, magnifiers, and adapted computer equipment) or services to perform job functions. The vast majority of those using job-related AT reported substantial benefits to their productivity and self-esteem. Employees' requests for AT as a workplace accommodation were granted more often than not, but many other employees had to pay for their own workplace AT.
Abstract: One central component to meaningful employment for people with disabilities is the ADA's workplace accommodation provision that allows qualified individuals to perform essential job functions. Little empirical evidence is available to evaluate the costs, benefits, and effectiveness of accommodations. Previous research has focused on direct costs. This article advocates an inclusive accommodation cost/benefit analysis to include direct and indirect costs and benefits and to differentiate disability-related accommodation costs from typical employee costs.…The inclusive cost/benefit analysis is applied to preliminary data from interviews with employers who contacted the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). Results suggest that accommodations are low cost, beneficial and effective.
Keywords: Workplace accommodations, Americans with Disabilities Act, reasonable accommodations
Abstract: This study examined the multi-faceted issues surrounding workplace accommodation for workers with disabilities. A user needs survey of 510 disabled individuals examined the types of technology and accommodations needed to perform work and employment-related activities. Workers with disabilities used a variety of workplace accommodations to overcome difficulties with functional limitations. Some differences existed in the types of accommodations used by older and younger workers who had the same functional limitation. Workers of…all ages were not likely to report mental limitations, and those who did were not likely to utilize workplace accommodations, with the exception of some memory strategies. For those with hearing loss, younger workers used sign language more frequently, while pre-retirement and retirement age workers used more hearing aids. Working age adults with vision impairments used electronic documents, Braille, and CCTVs more than pre-retirement or retirement age workers. Regardless of age, workers reporting functional limitations often received no workplace accommodations.
Abstract: This paper describes current US trends and practices regarding workplace personal assistance services (PAS) as part of available work accommodation options. Workplace PAS include task-related assistance at work, such as readers, interpreters, help with lifting or reaching, re-assignment of non-essential duties to co-workers, and other help related to performing work tasks; and personal care-related assistance such as helping someone with using the rest room, eating, or drinking while at work. The results reported here are…based on forty-one telephone interviews conducted in 2004, which included 20 workplace PAS users and 21 US employers familiar with workplace accommodations. Employers and consumers described a range of workplace personal assistance currently used. Barriers to expansion of workplace PAS include negative co-worker or supervisor attitude, cost to employers and workers, waiting time for accommodations, employee attitude and knowledge, and confusing terminology. Development of organizational culture that encourages employment of people with disabilities and developing employer-employee partnerships in arranging for accommodations can contribute to workplace PAS solutions. The survey findings contribute to better understanding of current practices related to workplace PAS.
Keywords: Personal assistance services, disability employment, accommodation, disability
Abstract: This paper illustrates the advantages of using human factors evaluation techniques as a method of informing rehabilitation service provider decisions about client care and assistive technology selection. Successful integration of accessibility evaluation techniques can strengthen an evidence based service program and offer service providers another tool for providing efficient, effective, and rapid services to individuals in need. With accessibility evaluation data showing the functional abilities required to operate a given product or…set of products, it is possible to empirically demonstrate that an individual has the potential to successfully utilize the provided workplace equipment. Conversely, if the accessibility evaluation data reveal that the functional capabilities required to use a product exceed the capabilities of a given user, it would be possible to demonstrate the need for particular interventions or accommodations. With accessibility evaluation data, service providers can make better informed decisions about client care.
Keywords: Accessibility, human factors, testing and evaluation
Abstract: One solution to the underutilization of workplace accommodations is to use teleconferencing technology to conduct remote assessments, effectively expanding the geographical area that experienced rehabilitation specialists can cover. However, such an effort requires a highly structured and comprehensive assessment protocol. This paper reports on the analysis of 53 existing assessments to develop a conceptual framework for assessment and the use of that framework to evaluate the applicability of 10 work-related assessment protocols…for remote tele-assessment. While none of the 10 protocols were found to be sufficiently comprehensive for our purposes, the conceptual framework itself will serve as an important tool to structure a new comprehensive protocol that will be developed. Moreover, the framework can also be used by providers of workplace assessments to evaluate the suitability of any assessment protocol to meet the needs of any particular individual or workplace situation.
Abstract: According to a recent Government Accountability Office report, the number of workers over age 55 is projected to increase significantly over the next twenty years, with this demographic group projected to comprise as much as twenty percent of the workforce by 2015 . Accommodating the functional limitations of a large number of older workers may prove challenging for employers; however, policies and practices shaped over the course of the next few decades could allow aging workers…to remain a valuable part of the US economy. Given these considerations, it is useful from a public policy perspective to determine the degree to which employers are currently addressing the accommodation needs of older workers. This paper presents the results of a study that attempted to determine the extent to which a sample of Fortune 500 employers was currently accommodating older workers. The study's methodology (in particular, its use of semi-structured telephone interviews) is reevaluated and new options (such as anonymous online employer surveys) are considered for the valid and reliable collection of data on accommodations for older workers.
Abstract: Online technology has made significant inroads into human resource (HR) processes such as recruitment, benefits, and training, yet many web sites are inaccessible to people with disabilities. Cornell University surveyed 433 HR representatives regarding their organizations' use of information and Web technology in HR processes. Survey results report that nine of the ten organizations use Web processes for job postings, eight of ten for online benefits information dissemination, and about six out of ten for online…benefits self service and online employee training. Employee use of computers was extensive, with the majority using computers more than half the workday. Knowledge of assistive technologies for computer users with disabilities and of Web accessibility considerations was low, but nearly half the respondents reported having made some type of adaptation to make a computer accessible to an employee with a disability. Very few organizations had trained any of their staff in Web accessibility topics or in making computers accessible, and the majority desired more information on those topics. These findings have implications not only for people with disabilities, but for the general workforce, which is aging.
Keywords: Information technology, web accessibility, human resource practices, HR, IT accommodations, disability
Abstract: Interest in emergency evacuation planning has increased since the September 11 terrorist attacks (9/11). In turn, the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) started receiving more questions about how to include employees with disabilities in such plans. JAN case data on the emergency evacuation of people with disabilities were reviewed. Case data from the four years prior to 9/11 (from September 11, 1997, to September 11, 2001) were compared to case data from the four years after 9/11…(from September 11, 2001, to September 11, 2005).
Keywords: Emergency evacuation, people with disabilities, 9/11, Americans with disabilities act, reasonable accommodation, Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
Abstract: The delivery of assistive technology (AT) within the state and federal vocational rehabilitation systems in the United States has been developing and refining itself over the last twenty years. Many challenges have been confronted in an attempt to use this relatively new service to increase the employment options and success for individuals with disabilities. In this process, the rehabilitation counselor serves as a critical player in the planning and delivery of AT as it articulates with…other rehabilitation services. This study investigated counselor views regarding their role and competence in providing AT services and devices to individuals with disabilities throughout the state of Wisconsin. The results of the survey indicated, in general, that counselors find AT to be a cost-effective service that can increase employment related outcomes. As with other service areas, the counselors' role in AT service delivery involves coordinating, purchasing and following up on services. Interestingly, while counselors expressed confidence in performing these overall functions, they reported a lack of confidence in identifying the need for AT services. Without a comfort level to make this determination, benefits from the implementation of AT may be quite limited. Results suggest that intervention is needed to improve counselors' abilities to make decisions regarding AT services.
Keywords: Assistive technology, rehabilitation technology, vocational rehabilitation, employment, counselor training
Abstract: Teleworking, a restructuring of the manner in which work occurs, based on information communication technologies (ICTs), is a promising way of further integrating people with disabilities into the workplace. In contrast to telecommuting, in which the work is primarily shifted in locale, telework is a restructuring of the tasks to be accomplished within the larger work setting which could result in "work" being done remotely, or collaboratively with coworkers (remotely or not) using ICTs. Drawing upon…a review of the literature, this paper explores the relationship between telework and people with disabilities. While the advent of telecommuting and subsequently "teleworking" might open increased opportunities for the hiring of people with disabilities, it may also place severe constraints on the type of work, workplace environment and interactions, and accumulation of social capital for people with disabilities. Whereas much of the prevailing literature on telework and disability is often proscriptive in nature and is written with an audience of employers in mind, it is just as important to consider policy options from the standpoint of the employee as well. This paper proposes a number of policy approaches for the creation of an inclusive work environment for teleworkers with disabilities that can minimize, as much as possible, the social isolation faced by teleworkers with disabilities while maximizing their participation within the workplace community. Policy objectives for enhancing telework for people with disabilities fall into three general categories: 1) research, 2) outreach, and 3) interventions.
Keywords: Telework, disability policy, workplace accommodation, social capital
Abstract: Telecommuting, whether full time, part time, or over short periods when the need arises, can be an important accommodation for employees with disabilities. Indeed, telecommuting may be the only form of accommodation that offers employees whose disabilities fluctuate a means to stay consistently and gainfully employed. This article describes one employer's experience in considering a request for telecommuting as a reasonable accommodation for a particular employee. Drawing on real-life examples, both positive and negative,…this article provides a win/win framework for decision-making that can help employers evaluate the use of telecommuting as a possible accommodation and facilitates open and ongoing communication between employer and employee.