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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: Objective: This study was designed to identify the effect of seat support characteristics on the neck and trunk muscles and forward head posture of visual display terminal (VDT) workers working at computers. Participants: 22 VDT workers with forward head posture were asked to perform computer work. Methods: Surface electromyography recorded the five neck and trunk muscles Forward head angle was analyzed with a 3-D motion analysis system. The significance of differences in the seat supports (hard,…spongy, unstable) was tested by repeated one-way ANOVA with the significance cutoff set at α = 0.05. Results: Computer work seated on an unstable cushion-ball as compared to a spongy soft-cushion seat support showed significantly lower midcervical and L5 paraspinal muscle activity and significantly higher lower trapezius and internal oblique abdominal muscle activity. The mean forward head angle decreased in the order of spongy, hard, and unstable seat supports. Conclusions: An unstable cushion-ball seat support may prevent work-related neck and upper limb disorders associated with forward head posture.
Keywords: Forward head posture, musculoskeletal disorders, seat support
Abstract: Objective: To identify risk indicators for high stress and low mental energy as well as to describe psychosocial working conditions at different types of call centres. Participants: 1183 operators from 28 call centres in Sweden, both external and internal, with different levels of task complexity, ownership and geographical location. Method: A cross sectional questionnaire study. Results: The stress level was moderately high and the energy level fairly high. Stress levels…tended to be lower and psychosocial conditions better with increasing level of task complexity. Fourteen per cent of the operators were in a state of high stress/low energy ("worn out") and 47% in high stress/high energy ("committed under pressure"). Operators in a state of low stress/high energy ("committed without pressure") were most likely to report a better health status. High stress and lack of energy was mainly associated with time pressure, low decision latitude, and lack of social and supervisor support. Conclusions: Time pressure in combination with lack of support and influence should be seen as a potential high risk situation for the development of a "worn-out" state among call centre operators. Management should make use of this knowledge in order to promote a long lasting efficient and healthy call centre work.
Keywords: Working conditions, call centre, stress, work motivation
Abstract: Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of regular stretching exercises on pain associated with working at a computer workstation, and to ascertain whether the type of media used for exercise instruction had an effect on outcomes. Participants: Sixty-eight volunteers were divided into three equivalent groups. All of the subjects worked at computers for prolonged periods of time and reported that their pain had been a source of distress for…at least three weeks prior to the intake evaluation. Methods: A pretest-posttest-control group design with cluster randomization was used to evaluate the effect of a stretching program on pain. Thirty-six different stretches were performed by the subjects for 15–17 work days. Two intervention groups were directed to stretch once every six minutes. One group (n=22) was reminded to stretch via a computer program, the second group (n=23) by using a hard copy version of the stretches with pictures and written instructions, and a third group received no intervention. Results: ANOVA analysis found a significant reduction in pain of 72% (p < 0.001) for the computer-generated stretching program, and of 64% (p < 0.001) using the hardcopy version of the intervention. The control group had an increase in pain of 1%. Conclusions: Both software and hard copy stretching interventions contributed to a decrease in pain without making any changes to workstation ergonomics and there was no significant statistical difference in the outcomes of either intervention. The subjective evaluation of pain using both visual analog scales and a newly created "pain spot" assessment technique yielded similar results.
Keywords: Occupational disease, carpal tunnel syndrome, muscle spasm, computer, assessment, visual analog scale, media
Abstract: Objective: Examine the impact of the Clubhouse Model of Vocational Rehabilitation by comparing the roles values of employed and unemployed members. It is a model of psychiatric rehabilitation and community support, which emphasizes the importance of work as a major re-integrative force for Clubhouse members. Participants: Sixty Clubhouse members consisting of 31 employed members and 29 non-employed members. Methods: A convenience sample of sixty participants completed the Role Checklist (Revised) (Oakley,…Kielhofner, Barris, and Klinger-Reichler, 1988), the Maryland Addiction Questionnaire Short-Form (O'Donnell, 1997), and the Historical Background Survey (Gregitis, 2003). The study was completed at an ICCD certified Clubhouse in the United States. Results: Results showed that there was no significant difference in the working role values of employed and unemployed participants. However, there was a significant difference in resistance to treatment of substance use by employed and unemployed participants. Conclusions: Volition and motivation of the employed Clubhouse members was higher when seeking work and pursuing life roles outside the Clubhouse environment. Unemployed Clubhouse members derived personal satisfaction and volition in the work-ordered day within the clubhouse setting. Further research should include verification, with a larger sample, of the importance of the working role in relation to mental health.
Keywords: Working role, values, clubhouse model programming
Abstract: Objective: The purpose of this study is to ergonomically evaluate the risk of work-related musculoskeletal injuries of the iron workers in highway construction. Two specific job duties are analyzed: (1) tying the vertical, pier support systems, and (2) tying rebar on a horizontal bridge deck. Participants: Eleven right-handed male subjects participated in this study. The eleven rodworkers (5 pier tiers and 6 deck tiers) were recruited from a heavy and highway/bridge building project. Methods: The ergonomic…assessment tools included the BodyMap instrument for measuring potential ergonomic concerns, and a handgrip dynamometer for measuring the maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) and applied grip force of the rebar-tying tasks. Results: This study suggests that there is a significant risk for injury and musculoskeletal disorders among iron workers performing these designated tasks. Findings also show that the ergonomic issues of greatest concern are the discomforts in the lower back and right wrist/hand of the rodworkers. Conclusions: The ergonomic assessment techniques could assist the early identification of work-related musculoskeletal concerns and help prioritize jobs for intervention in the construction field.
Keywords: Ergonomic assessment, musculoskeletal disorders, body discomfort, physical exertion, posture, iron worker, rebar tying, highway construction
Abstract: Objective: The purposes of this study were to establish the validity of a digital goniometer (DG) prototype, determine the inter- and intra-rater reliability of the DG as compared to the universal goniometer (UG), and evaluate and describe the clinical usability of the DG as a measurement tool. Participants: Eighteen healthy patient models and 5 physical therapists volunteered to participate. Methods: Reliability testing of both the UG and DG was determined from the measurements of 5 therapists who…performed 2 randomized, repeated measures of 5 joint motions on each of 6 patient models during 3 data collection sessions. To determine the validity of the DG, the investigators measured 8 randomly selected, computer-aided design (CAD) angles during each of the 3 data collection sessions. Physical therapist participants completed pre-/post-surveys to assess perceptions of clinical usability of the DG. Results: No statistically significant differences were found between devices. Comparison of the DG and UG demonstrated no difference for intra- or inter-rater reliability, with the DG yielding higher inter-rater ICC values for each of the 5~motions measured. Conclusions: The DG has adequate concurrent criterion-related validity as a tool for assessment of joint ROM and equivalent inter- and intra-rater reliability to the UG. User surveys indicated that several of the novel features of the DG contributed to a higher likelihood that the device would be utilized by clinicians.
Keywords: Upper extremity, measurement, range of motion (ROM)
Abstract: Tree planting is extremely physical, seasonal, repetitive work with high risk for musculoskeletal injuries. Objectives: (1) To assess musculoskeletal symptoms in tree planters as they develop over the course of the planting season. (2) To investigate the effect of pre-season level of physical activity on development of musculoskeletal symptoms. Participants: 132 tree planters from two reforestation camps participated in the study. Methods: Three questionnaires were completed prior to the first…work day of the planting season. Questionnaires included the International Physical Activity Questionnaire, a body map to report areas of musculoskeletal symptoms (MSS questionnaire), and a series of questions about planter demographics. A subset of study participants (n=14) also completed the MSS questionnaire each work shift during the planting season. Musculoskeletal symptoms in each area of the body were compared pre-and-post season using a paired t-test on data from the MSS questionnaire. Results and conclusions: Areas of the body with the greatest amount of musculoskeletal pain and discomfort were the feet, wrists and back, whereas areas with the highest frequency of reported pain were the upper, middle and lower back. Musculoskeletal symptoms worsened significantly over the course of the work season. Pre-season level of physical activity could not be correlated with development of musculoskeletal symptoms.
Abstract: The world of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) is complicated and fuzzy. Fuzzy logic provides a precise framework for complex problems characterized by uncertainty, vagueness and imprecision. Although fuzzy logic would appear to be an ideal modeling language to help address the complexity of MSDs, little research has been done in this regard. The Work Ratio is a novel mathematical model that uses fuzzy logic to provide a numerical and linguistic valuation of the likelihood of return to…work and remaining at work. It can be used for a worker with any MSD at any point in time. Basic mathematical concepts from set theory and fuzzy logic are reviewed. A case study is then used to illustrate the use of the Work Ratio. Its potential strengths and limitations are discussed. Further research of its use with a variety of MSDs, settings and multidisciplinary teams is needed to confirm its universal value.
Keywords: Fuzzy logic, mathematical model, musculoskeletal disorders, return to work, Work Ratio
Abstract: Objective: The aim of this study is to understand the barriers and facilitators in brokering knowledge brokering knowledge to help injured workers make informed decisions about recovery and to support their transitions to return to work (RTW). Participants: Perceptions of 63 Injured Worker Groups (IWGs) and 43 Health Care Professionals (HCPs) in facilitating and brokering knowledge were examined. Methods: Critical theory and participatory action research approaches informed the development of a multi-stakeholder…research team and the study design to support an exploration into knowledge exchange and transfer. Data was analyzed using a critical occupational perspective to reveal the source of barriers and to identify the facilitators of the knowledge exchange and transfer process. Results: Barriers in transferring knowledge included system barriers, a lack of information accessibility, and problems with variations in injured worker capacity and experience using information. IWG and HCP participants lacked expertise in knowledge transfer. Findings also revealed the interactive knowledge transfer processes that IWGs and HCPs use to help injured workers understand and use information. Conclusions: Change is required to improve knowledge exchange and transfer of information for and to persons with injuries and disabilities. Suggested changes include the development of a sustainable knowledge transfer community of practice, a best practice guide for knowledge brokers such as IWGs and HCPs, and a process for ongoing assessment and evaluation of injured worker information needs and preferences.
Keywords: Knowledge transfer, knowledge brokering, injured workers, consumer groups, health care professionals, return to work transitions