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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: Occupational therapists (OTs) engage in continuing education to integrate best available knowledge and skills into their practice. However, many barriers influence the degree to which they are currently able to integrate research evidence into their clinical decision making process. The specific objectives were to explore the clinical decision-making processes they used, and to describe the empowerment process they developed to become evidence-based practitioners. Participants: Eight OTs, who had attended a…four-day workshop on evidence-based work rehabilitation, were recruited to participate to a reflective practice group. Methods: A collaborative research methodology was used. The group was convened for 12 meetings and held during a 15-month period. The data collected was analyzed using the grounded theory method. Results: The results revealed the different decision-making modes used by OTs: defensive, repressed, cautious, autonomous intuitive and autonomous thoughtful. These modes influenced utilization of evidence and determined the stances taken toward practice change. Reflective learning facilitated their utilization of an evidence-based practice model through a three-level empowerment process: deliberateness, client-centeredness and system mindedness. Conclusions: During the course of this study, participants learned to become evidence-based practitioners. This process had an impact on how they viewed their clients, their practice and the work rehabilitation system.
Keywords: Work rehabilitation, evidence-based practice, occupational therapy, clinical reasoning, reflective practice, collaborative research
Abstract: Objective: In the present study, bent-handled needle-nose pliers, designed from an ergonomic perspective as an improvement over the conventional plier were investigated. Participants: A convenience sample of fourteen volunteer male university students aged between (20 and 24 years old) participated in the study. Methods: Three angles to the jaws of plier (0°, 10° and 20°) were provided in the redesigned pliers to reduce ulnar deviation of wrist. Other two angles (0° and…5°) of jaws with respect to the vertical plane. From this, (3 × 2) six redesigned pliers were investigated. Dependent variables were discomfort – scored on 10~cm Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and difference in systolic and dysystolic blood pressure (BP). Results: The results of ANOVA showed that the main and interaction effects of the angle to prevent ulnar deviation of wrist and angle to prevent extension of wrist were highly significant (i.e., p< 0.001) on discomfort score. Effect of angle to prevent ulnar deviation of wrist was only found significant on difference in systolic blood pressure. Of the redesigned pliers, the pliers with 10° angle of handle from jaw to prevent ulnar deviation, and 5° angle of handle to prevent extension of wrist was found to give the minimum level of discomfort score. Conclusions: Hence it is concluded that bent handle pliers up to certain angles may reduce discomfort, and after that discomfort will increases drastically. These finding will be very significant for the designers to use one more angle as per the requirement of the comfortable use of pliers. Many ergonomically redesigned pliers are available. However none was found be considering angle to give extension of the wrist based on scientific findings.
Abstract: Objective: The objective of this study was to examine the reported practices of construction firms and the beliefs of firm managers/supervisors with respect to employing youth under age 18 and ensuring their safety. Participants: The participants in this study were firm representatives from 54, mostly small to medium sized, construction firms in North Carolina. Methods: Survey responses were analyzed for the entire sample and within strata of firm size (1–10, 11+ employees) using descriptive statistics. Percentages and…95% confidence intervals were calculated. Chi-square tests were used to test for statistical significance in differences between firm sizes. Results: The findings suggest limits in the adequacy of safety training given to youth in construction, particularly in light of the minimal experience firms require of young hires, that managers' beliefs about the causes of young worker injury are largely focused on worker behaviors rather than on the presence of hazards, and that managers' compliance with child labor laws may be hampered by their lack of knowledge of these laws and an ambivalence toward their usefulness and enforcement. Conclusions: While larger studies are needed to confirm and advance these findings, when considered along with prior studies, they demonstrate the need to improve the safety of the construction environment for youth. The development of new educational interventions by health and safety professionals targeted at construction firms are supported, as are efforts by government regulators to increase enforcement and employer knowledge of the child labor laws.
Keywords: Construction, firm practices, health and safety, manager beliefs, young workers
Abstract: Objective: This study examined the methods and frequency of professional supervision in Queensland's work rehabilitation sector. Professional supervision is regarded as an important aspect of professional development and hence, critical to the improvement of services delivered by practitioners. However, there is little documented on the extent of supervision of practitioners in this setting and even less on the impact and effectiveness of supervision. Participants: Eighty-two (82) work rehabilitation professionals participated in…the study. Methods: The majority of participants (76) responded to a web-based survey that had been sent to them by a web-link, and 6 completed a paper based survey version of the survey, which evaluated the extent, practice methods, and barriers to the delivery and receipt of supervision. A follow-up focus group was held with key opinion holders to examine possible barriers to supervision in the industry. Results: 59% of the participants had not received any form of supervision in the past two years. Those who received or delivered supervision reported it to be a valuable practice. The follow-up focus group identified barriers to supervision as being pressures of commercial targets, lack of exposure to work rehabilitation in university curricula, high staff turn-over, relative inexperience of case managers and purchasers dictating product outcomes. Conclusions: The development of industry standards for supervision practice is recommended to overcome the barriers to supervision.
Keywords: Supervision practices, work rehabilitation, Queensland
Abstract: Objective: The purpose of this study is to identify situations and phenomena that have simplified returning to work for women on long-term sick leave. Participants: Seven women who were exposed to a relatively large number of risk factors that normally are associated with difficulties in returning to work. Methods: In-depth interviews with qualitative content analysis. Results: The analysis indicated four main categories of factors: The Individual, Interactions, Surrounding Resources, and Situations. In each of the…main categories structural factors exist and it appears that these have been of significant importance to the women in their return to work. These are presented as Key Factors and they are: clarification of – and the need for – support in the personal process of change; desire, longing, and vanity; respectful interactions between the individual and people in her surroundings; the structure and content of the rehabilitation clinic; the importance of the perceived reality; and the individual's sense of control during the work related rehabilitation process. Conclusions: The results mostly revealed phenomena that have been indicated and described in earlier research studies. However, emotions such as desire, longing and vanity as motivation and driving forces behind a return to work have not been earlier described.
Abstract: Objective: This longitudinal study sought to determine the effectiveness of interventions to improve injury management in an industrial setting. Participants: Study participants were workers from three production departments of a large aluminium smelter. Methods: The interventions introduced were to encourage active participation in rehabilitation procedures by injured workers, improve communication with all stakeholders, identify and manage psychosocial issues, and focus the workforce on occupational health and safety matters. Linear regression modelling was used…to determine the effectiveness of the interventions using data collected for fourteen months before and fifteen months after the introduction of interventions. Outcomes compared were the number of injuries, number of persons on restricted duty, and lost hours per month. Results: Modelling showed the intervention significantly reduced the number of injuries in the potrooms (from 14 to 6 per month). The number of persons on restricted duties was reduced in all departments (potrooms: from 12 to 7 persons per month, cast house: 3 to 1 person per month, carbon plant: 3 to 1 person per month). Lost hours were significantly reduced in the potrooms (from 244 to 61 hours per month). Conclusion: These findings demonstrate the effectiveness of the revised injury management process introduced.
Keywords: Work related injuries, musculoskeletal disorders, occupational health, psycho-social factors
Abstract: Objective: The aim of the present study was to explore and analyze accounts of social interactions and relationships with family, workmates, and friends supplied by persons with experience of sickness absence due to back, neck, or shoulder diagnoses. The focus was on experiences that seemed to involve positive and negative self-evaluative aspects, and therefore may be important to the self-conception and self-esteem of the absentee, and possibly to return to work. Participants: The interviewees…were women and men between 25 to 34 years of age who had been sickness certified due to back, neck, or shoulder diagnosis. Methods: A descriptive and explorative method was used to analyze data from five focus-group interviews. Results: The importance of being supported and encouraged by family members, and the importance of feeling needed at work as well as being part of a social context were aspects stressed by the respondents. Conclusions: Our results indicate that these interactions and relations are important to the absentees' self-esteem, and that this should be taken into account when discussing rehabilitation efforts.
Keywords: Sickness absence, sick leave, social relations, self-esteem, social emotions, return to work
Abstract: Objective: The aim of the study was to examine the double locked-in phenomenon at work (i.e., being in a non-preferred occupation and non-preferred work place), and its associations to psychological health, physical health and job satisfaction. Methods: A total of 136 municipal employees who visited a career coaching center (response rate 59%) participated in the questionnaire study. Results: The results showed that 61% of the participants were double locked-in and half of…them perceived rather much or very much stress. Multiple regression analyses showed that a feeling of being double locked-in predicted psychological health (GHQ-12) and job satisfaction, even after optimism and perceived stress were controlled for, whereas double locked-in did not predict physical health. Conclusions: This study suggests that the locked-in phenomenon and its underlying causes and consequences need to be studied further in future research. To counteract the negative effects of the double locked-in phenomenon it is important to facilitate employees' mobility in different ways.
Keywords: Locked-in at work, health, job satisfaction, optimism, municipal employees
Abstract: Objective: To investigate the impact of occupational exposure to pesticides, metals, and solvents on mortality. Participants: Middle-aged Japanese-American men (n= 7,540) who had participated in the Honolulu Heart Program during 1965–1968. Methods: Industrial hygienists assessed participants' potential for exposure based on their primary job. Cumulative exposure scores were categorized as none, low, medium, and high. The underlying cause of death was ascertained by a physician panel. All associations were…assessed using Cox proportional hazards models. Results: A total of 4, 485 deaths occurred. Compared to no exposure, pesticide exposure was significantly associated with mortality from all causes, circulatory diseases, stroke, and all cancers. Results for all-cause mortality at the 0-yr lag after risk-factor adjustment were: Low, hazard ratio (HR) = 0.85, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.68–1.08; medium, HR = 1.18, 95% CI = 1.01–1.37; and high, HR=1.29, 95% CI=1.06–1.57; trend, p=0.002. Exposure to metals and solvents was significantly associated with mortality from all causes, cancer, and respiratory disease, and exposure to solvents was additionally associated with mortality from circulatory disease. Associations were strongest at the 15-yr lag. Conclusions: Results show that occupational exposures to pesticides, metals, and solvents during mid-life are independently associated with increased mortality, and indicate potential importance of exposures that occurred approximately 15 years prior to death.
Keywords: Occupational health and safety, men's health, mortality rates