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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 paper will explore the development of occupational therapists' and physiotherapists' roles in work related practice from an early focus on rehabilitation of injured workers, to one including prevention and health promotion. Methods: A review of international evidence identified the roles, tasks and employment paths for occupational therapists and physiotherapists in work related practice. The relationship between government regulation and therapists' access to the workplace was also examined. Results: Occupational therapists…and physiotherapists hold valued positions in work related professional practice. Whilst initially their roles were based on injury management through occupational rehabilitation, both professions have demonstrated a clear vision of the importance of prevention of work related injury and disease. Social and workplace changes in the late 1970s in a number of western countries, commencing with the Robens' reforms in the United Kingdom, led to improved legislation and regulation for managing occupational health and safety. Conclusions: The approach of both disciplines to practice in this field reflects their individual professional education. However, some role overlaps exists in consultancy activities in the industrial environment. Implementation of modern OHS regulatory programs in other western countries, including Australia, has increased and broadened the opportunities for therapists, as governments, employers and insurers support early intervention to minimise the impact of workplace injuries and diseases.
Keywords: Occupational health and safety, rehabilitation, prevention, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, work related practice
Abstract: Objective/Method: During the last decades sickness absence from work has become a great societal problem. Questions of how rehabilitation processes should become successful and how peoples' ability to work can be improved have become of great public interest. In this paper we discuss three well-known theoretical perspectives regarding their usefulness when it comes to research on rehabilitation for return to work. Results: The three perspectives are: Antonovsky's salutogenic model of health, Kielhofner's model of…human occupation and Scheff's sociological theory of "shame and pride". Conclusions: Each of these can be applied to increase understanding and knowledge concerning sickness absence and return to work. We discuss points of affinity among the three perspectives, as well as significant differences, and we propose that a very essential common denominator is the importance of self-experience.
Keywords: KASAM, Model of Human Occupation, self-experience, social emotions
Abstract: Several methodological challenges arise when attempting to analyse individual data on changes of sick-leave diagnoses over several years. Sick-leave spells for a person can recur, have different sick-leave diagnoses, and both these aspects are dependent of previous episodes, the numbers of repeated periods vary across subjects, and standard statistical methods are not valid for variables on nominal scales, e.g. sick-leave diagnoses. Objective: Our aim was to ascertain whether the number and pattern of changes…in sick-leave diagnoses are associated with future disability pension (DP) and to test methods for analysis of repeated measurements on nominal data. Participants: Data from a 12-year prospective cohort study of the 8000 sick-leave periods of the 213 persons aged 25–34 who, in 1985, had a new sick-leave spell ⩾ 28 days with back diagnoses were used. Methods: We used entropies, uncertainty coefficients adjusted for repeated measurements, and transition matrices to examine the changes in sick-leave diagnoses that occurred during follow up. Results: In the 12 years 22% were granted DP and they had changed sick-leave diagnosis less frequently and more often had new sick-leave periods with musculoskeletal diagnoses than the others. The variation in diagnoses and the degree of dependence between consecutive diagnoses were associated with DP. Conclusions: Many tools in statistics are based on linear methods that require numerical variables, but such methods are not valid for repeated measurements on discrete variables on nominal scales, as for sick-leave diagnosis. In such cases, it can be beneficial to use tools that are applied in statistical information theory.
Abstract: Objective: With the recent trend of increasing obesity in the United States, more immediate health outcomes such as reduced musculoskeletal pain may be more effective in encouraging compliance. The study objective was to investigate the relationship between weight loss and changes in musculoskeletal pain. Participants: Thirty-five females who recently enrolled into a weight loss program were enrolled into the study. Methods: The impact of weight loss on musculoskeletal pain in the short-term was…assessed by tracking pain and weight loss during bi-weekly visits to a weight loss clinic. During a 12-week prospective study, the pain ratings in 9 body regions measured during the bi-weekly weigh-ins at the clinic. Results: A significant association was found between weight loss and reduction of pain in the elbow, upper back, lower back, and hip regions as well as overall pain. Conclusions: The significant trends between weight loss and corresponding reduction in pain provide support to weight-loss management providers that may have more immediate relevance – a quick impact on pain may encourage compliance with weight loss programs. While the trends for weight and pain are intriguing, future research will need to indentify the underlying mechanism for the reduced pain. One potential mechanism may be that a reduction of weight reduces the biomechanical stress on the load bearing joints, reducing pain responses.
Keywords: Obesity, low back, shoulder, hand and wrist, knee, hip
Abstract: Objective: International reports on school-to-work transition make it clear that worldwide youth are at-risk for educational disengagement and are three times as likely to be unemployed as their adult counterparts. Work-based education (WBE) is one of the most frequently recommended solutions for youth disengagement which suggests that WBE serves as a protective factor and encourages resilience in at-risk youth. The objective of this study was to describe and compare the experiences of two at-risk youth enrolled…in WBE. Participants: Two 18-year old at-risk youth enrolled in WBE were chosen for study because they were learning in workplaces judged likely to promote resilience. Both had been disengaged from school prior to enrolling in WBE. Method: Each multiple-perspective case study includes the perspective of the youth, the workplace employer, and the work-based educator. Data consisted of ethnographic observations and interviews conducted at the workplace, and with the teacher in the school. Results: Each case study highlights how supportive adults and an at-risk youth engage in interactions that facilitate the emergence of resilience in the workplace. Conclusions: In these two cases, risk and resilience are context specific, suggesting that at-risk youth may require tailored workplace programs to meet their career development needs.
Abstract: Objective: To evaluate the effect of the involvement of intermediaries who were research partners on three intervention studies. The projects crossed four sectors: manufacturing, transportation, service sector, and electrical-utilities sectors. The interventions were participative ergonomic programs. The study attempts to further our understanding of collaborative workplace-based research between researchers and intermediary organizations; to analyze this collaboration in terms of knowledge transfer; and to further our understanding of the successes and challenges with…such a process. Participants: The intermediary organizations were provincial health and safety associations (HSAs). They have workplaces as their clients and acted as direct links between the researchers and workplaces. Methods: Data was collected from observations, emails, research-meeting minutes, and 36 qualitative interviews. Interviewees were managers, and consultants from the collaborating associations, 17 company representatives and seven researchers. Results: The article describes how the collaborations were created, the structure of the partnerships, the difficulties, the benefits, and challenges to both the researchers and intermediaries. The evidence of knowledge utilization between the researchers and HSAs was tracked as a proxy-measure of impact of this collaborative method, also called Mode 2 research. Conclusion: Despite the difficulties, both the researchers and the health and safety specialists agreed that the results of the research made the process worthwhile.
Keywords: Knowledge transfer and exchange, workplace intervention research, collaborative research, knowledge utilization, prevention of musculoskeletal disorders
Abstract: Several emergency response organisations have introduced a minimum aerobic fitness test to predict performance on critical tasks, as well as to help ensure some protection against the cardiovascular stress associated with emergency situations. A popular indirect sub-maximal test of aerobic fitness is the step test; this test relies on the relationship between exercise intensity, heart rate and aerobic capacity. This relationship, and the tests that rely on it, are not valid for individuals who are on…prescribed medication (often for high blood pressure) that alter the heart rate response to exercise. Objective: The purpose of the work described in this paper was to develop a sub-maximal test of aerobic fitness that did not rely on heart rate. Participants and Methods: Eighty-four subjects undertook the Tecumseh step test and a six-minute maximal walk test. Results: A Pearson Product correlation of r=− 0.81, P< 0.01 was identified between the distance that an individual could walk in six minutes and their heart rate response to the step test. Conclusions: It is concluded that the walk test offers a valid alternative to the step test for the indirect sub-maximal assessment of aerobic fitness.
Keywords: Heart rate, emergency service, predictive, fitness standard
Abstract: Objective: The intent of this investigation was to identify current definitions, issues, and strategies related to the use of Personal Assistance Services (PAS) in the workplace. Participants: The participants were employees with disabilities who used PAS in the workplace as well as employers who participated in research studies over the past 20 years. Methods: More than 30 articles were reviewed to determine PAS definitions, use, policies, and outcomes. A comprehensive search of bibliographic resources…(e.g., EBSCOhost) was conducted to identify appropriate articles. Results: The articles revealed current definitions of workplace PAS, demonstrated an increasing need for PAS, and highlighted fiscal and societal barriers to the full implementation of PAS at work. Conclusions: The outcomes clarify the historical components, but also identify questions that remain. These questions concern the effectiveness of PAS, best practices for funding PAS, and the need for national and local policies to support the use of PAS for workers with disabilities.
Keywords: Personal assistance services, PAS, disability, Personal Care-related PAS, cost
Abstract: Objective: The Traffic Engineering Company of the City of São Paulo (Brazil) observed a decrease in productivity, and an increase in sick leave, accidents and psychological distress among their parking inspection agents. To document this situation, qualitative research was undertaken to obtain an in-depth comprehension of work activity. Participants: Workers, managers and health and safety professionals contributed to the documentation of the problem and to the proposal of possible solutions. Methods: Ergonomic…work analysis focusing on real work activity, as well as interviews with individual or groups of stakeholders, were conducted. Results: This research revealed that political-economic factors gradually contributed to: 1) an increasing work load; 2) growing fatigue throughout the day, increasing the workers' vulnerability to incidents and accidents and their tendency to react inappropriately to violence experienced on the street; and 3) excessive individual responsibility to manage dangerous situations. Conclusions: Recommendations to ameliorate the situation are proposed. These suggestions are discussed in terms of feasibility given the impact of macro social factors upon micro work activity, and the associated potential expansion of the ergonomist's role.
Keywords: Ergonomic work analysis, work safety, health promotion, productivity, politics, parking agent