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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: These ergonomic evaluations analyze the threat of musculoskeletal injuries primarily due to awkward and extreme postures across two post-fire tasks and a patient care task. Participants: The participants were firefighters and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) in an urban U.S. fire department. Methods: Ergonomic tools used for the evaluation included the National Institute of Occupational Safety Health (NIOSH) lifting equation, Rapid Entire Body Assessment (REBA), Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA), and anthropometric…measurements of equipment and persons. Results: High to very high risks were found for lifting the hose above the shoulder to drain it of excess water and for rolling the hoses on the ground. Extreme risk was found for lifting the hose from chest height to above the shoulders during hose drainage. High risk was found for EMT patient care tasks that require reaching for overhead equipment or seated tasks that require horizontal bending and twisting. Conclusions: The risk was high enough for these tasks to warrant modification and changes. The recommendations given included creating new mechanical and technical devices, modifying existing devises, and making workers aware of associated risks to reduce the threat of injury.
Keywords: Rapid Entire Body Assessment (REBA), Rapid Upper Body Assessment (RULA), Manual Material Handling (MMH), National Institute of Occupational Safety Health (NIOSH)
Abstract: Objective: During the last decades, medical certificates have become the core administrative mechanism for a variety of redistributive policies within public administration. This article explores variations in sickness absence as a result of medicalization. Methods: The study focuses on the meaning of illness and work disability over time among physicians and the officials in the national insurance offices who are responsible for deciding on matters of sickness absence. 230 casebooks (including medical certificates) are…included in the study. The material covers two time periods: the end of the 1970s and the end of the 1990s. Results: The findings indicate that over time officials and physicians have adopted a broader definition of illness and work disability. Different attention and meanings have been given to conditions and symptoms in the southern and northern parts of Sweden, resulting in a difference in diagnoses between the two regions. Conclusions: The results indicate medicalization as one explanation for changing sickness figures and differences in the patterns of diagnoses, and the necessity of placing further emphasis on social insurance offices and their role in changing patterns of sickness absence.
Keywords: Sickness absence, public administration, medicalization
Abstract: Objective: This study investigates the impact of temporary employment on all-cause sickness absence of one week or more with a focus on how this relationship is moderated by factors related to social protection (job tenure, union membership and firm size). Participants: A sample of 5,307 individuals who experienced 9,574 distinct job episodes was drawn from a longitudinal Canadian labour market survey (2000–2004). Methods: Duration analysis was undertaken to model the time from the start of a…job to the first sickness absence. Specifically, a proportional hazard model was estimated using a complementary log-log function for continuous time processes. Results: Findings showed that temporary employment was associated with a lower rate of sickness absence after controlling for tenure, prior health status, and several other individual and job characteristics. Conclusions: The results suggest that the lack of social protection in temporary jobs is a powerful determinant of absence taking, even in the case of serious health conditions that require an absence of one week or more.
Keywords: Sickness absence, temporary work, work injury
Abstract: Objective: Burnout and work engagement are generally defined as psychological states but the methods used to measure these constructs are more in line with methods used to assess psychological traits. Thus, a new instrument called the Scale of Work Engagement and Burnout (SWEBO) measuring the state mood of burnout and work engagement was developed during the fall of 2007. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the SWEBO using psychometrical methods. Participants:…The sample consisted of 2,266 newly graduated Swedish nurses and teachers. Methods: Measurement models of both burnout and work engagement were evaluated using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). Both burnout and work engagement were also tested for measurement invariance across occupation and age. Results: The fit of the measurement model of burnout was satisfactory and it was invariant across both occupation and age. The measurement model of work engagement as initially defined did not fit the data satisfactorily. The model was therefore revised and reanalyzed. The revised model had a satisfactory fit and was invariant across occupation. Analysis of its invariance across age, however, gave ambiguous results that were difficult to interpret. Conclusions: The SWEBO presents a psychometrically sound alternative for measuring burnout and work engagement.
Keywords: Burnout, work engagement, multi-group confirmatory factor analysis, measurement invariance
Abstract: Objective: To investigate whether long-term use of an ergonomic keyboard was effective in reducing symptom severity and improving functional status for individuals who experience symptoms of work related upper extremity disorders (WRUED). Participants: Twenty-nine symptomatic workers employed by a single company. Methods: Participants were assessed after using an ergonomic keyboard for an average of 34 months. Symptom severity, clinical signs, functional status, and typing speed were measured and compared with…baseline and six-month study data. Results: Repeated-measure analysis identified that participants maintained the improvement realized at the six-month study mark for symptom severity and functional status, and maintained their typing speed and accuracy. Conclusions: The results of the study suggest that continuous ergonomic keyboard use was effective in maintaining improvements obtained after six months of use. The potential for ergonomic keyboard use in preventing injury in keyboard operators warrants further investigation.
Keywords: Keyboard, computer peripheral, ergonomics, work related upper extremity disorders, cumulative trauma disorders, follow-up studies
Abstract: Objective: To examine possible predictors of lost workdays among nurses and nurses' aides who sought treatment for work-related back pain. Participants: Nursing staff employed at a tertiary care medical center over a 13-year time period (1994 through 2006). Methods: We used existing data from clinic surveys administered to nursing personnel during their initial treatment visit to the hospital's occupational health clinic. Predictors of losing ⩽ 7 and ⩾ 8 workdays was examined.…Results: 589 of 708 (83%) nursing personnel with complaints of work-related back pain completed the survey, with 31% resulting in lost workdays. Experiencing sudden onset of pain (RR:1.9; 95% CI: 1.1, 3.1), a combination of severe pain with numbness and tingling in the back/legs (RR: 7.4; 95% CI: 2.9, 18.6), severe pain only (RR: 4.4; 95% CI: 1.8, 11.1), numbness and tingling in the back/legs only (RR: 3.5; 95% CI: 1.0, 12.2), and working < 5 years at the hospital (RR: 2.3; 95% CI: 1.2, 4.7) were predictive of losing ⩾ 8 workdays. Job title, work demands, work conflicts, and most psychosocial factors were not predictive. Conclusions: Severe pain, neurologic symptoms and sudden onset of pain were predictive of delayed return-to-work; however, these symptoms alone should not be considered indicators of poor outcomes given that most workers who reported these symptoms returned to work in less than 8~days. Among these health care workers, lost workdays appear to be related to more severe pathology rather than workplace characteristics.
Keywords: Back injuries, back pain, lost workdays, disability, nurse, nurses' aide
Abstract: Objective: To determine if isometric (static) strength accurately predicts dynamic lifting capacity. Participants: 107,755 male and 23,078 female prospective workers taking part in a post-offer employment test. Methods: Subjects were tested for strength three standard static lifts and attained physical maxima for four dynamic lifts. Results: The data confirms modest correlations between isometric and dynamic measures. However, the standard errors of estimate for all isometric-to-dynamic predictions make such predictions meaningless for the practical purpose for which they are most…commonly used. Conclusions: The Static Leg Lift, Static Arm Lift and Static Back (Torso) Lift are not appropriate for making predictions relative to dynamic lifting capacity. Given the likely degree of error in such predictions, and in light of potential safety concerns as reported by previous investigators, employers, clinicians and risk managers now have substantial objective evidence to call such testing into question.
Keywords: Employment testing, post-offer testing, strength testing, static leg lift, static arm lift static back lift
Abstract: Objectives: 1. To determine if scores on pain questionnaires and overt behaviors during a functional capacity evaluation (FCE) were related to variability between repeated measures during a hand strength assessment. 2. To determine if failure of statistically-based validity criteria, as proposed by Schapmire, St. James and Townsend et al.  is likely to be due to pain. Participants: 200 consecutive clients presenting for an FCE. Methods: Subjects filled out pain questionnaires, were observed for various…behaviors and were administered the distraction-based hand strength assessment. Results: Clients failing two or more of the statistically-based validity criteria had higher scores on most pain questionnaires, presented with a higher frequency of various pain behaviors (p < 0.05 and < 0.001, respectively), and had a lower rate of relevant surgeries (p < 0.001). There was no statistically significant difference in the number of failed validity criteria between this group of clients and for normal subjects feigning weakness in a controlled study (p> 0.05). Conclusions: Pain does not reasonably explain the failure of the statistically-based validity criteria. The protocol is appropriate for use in a client population.
Keywords: Distraction-based testing, validity of effort, functional capacity evaluation (FCE) Sincerity of effort
Abstract: The Lam Assessment on Stages of Employment Readiness (LASER) was developed to assess welfare recipients' employment readiness. The LASER consists of 14 items corresponding to Prochaska's stages of change model (Prochaska, DiClemente and Norcross, 1992). A sample of 149 welfare recipients from a work training program participated in the study. The Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) supported the three factors structure corresponding to Prochaska's Pre-Contemplation, Contemplation, and Action stages. A cluster analysis classified…the sample into three groups according to their LASER scores. A six months follow-up on employment outcomes showed that those who were in Pre-contemplation stage had the poorest employment outcome (25%), those who were in the Action stage had the best outcome (56%) and those in the Contemplation stage were in between (38%). Implications for work rehabilitation and treatment matching were discussed.
Keywords: Assessment of Work Readiness, Stages of Change