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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: The main purpose of this paper was to explore the environmental factors which are considered to influence the workload of fire-fighters in Chile. Methods: Work studies were conducted during actual fire fighting in order to synchronise the various activities with cardiac frequency responses. At each fire environmental temperatures were recorded, and as an indicator of the increased demands imposed by the terrain, the slope was measured as well as the type and weight…of fuel being burned. Output was evaluated in terms of squared meters of line constructed. The physical characteristics of the workers were assessed and these were related to the work load. Participants: The participants were 149 professional fire-fighters. Results: The results showed that the fire-fighters had a heavy workload. Despite the fact that about 80% of the fires was controlled in less than 30 minutes, the fire-fighters were found to be exhausted after combating each fire. This suggests that they had a significant depletion of their physical energy which in turn led to a drop in the quality of the fire-line by the time the fire was extinguished. Conclusions: The results indicate the need for promoting more awareness of occupational health factors among the fire-fighters and fire management.
Keywords: Forest fires, work load, heat exposure, physical fitness
Abstract: Objective: To further investigate Peruvian blue collar workers' perceptions of their conditions of work and find out relationships between these conditions and overall worker well being. Methods: A survey study conducted on-the-job via a self-administered questionnaire translated into Spanish. Main study variables included work satisfaction, self-reported health status, musculoskeletal pain, and mental distress symptoms. Working conditions and extra-organizational factors were included in this multilevel assessment using multiple regression analyses.…Participants: Blue collar workers from the formal manufacturing sector in Lima, Perú. Results: A total of 305 women and 761 men completed the questionnaires. Female and male perceptions of their work environment differed significantly in magnitude and occasionally in direction. Among women, the extra-organizational factors played a key role in perceived mental distress. For men, task and organizational aspects together with the extra-organizational factors were important correlates of life and work satisfaction. Conclusions: The combination of higher strain due to work plus extra-organizational factors for women is an important finding in this study and is critical for developing ideas about interventions in IDCs. Inclusion of extra-organizational factors contributed to a better understanding of workers' job satisfaction and health.
Keywords: Working conditions, gender differences, industrial workers, job satisfaction, industrially developing countries
Abstract: Objective: To compare physiological and perceptual responses while lifting with different combinations of ceiling restriction and horizontal reach. Methods: Four lifting conditions with different combinations of ceiling height ('normal' (N) or reduced (R) to 1460 mm) and reach demands (400 mm (N) and 800 mm (F)) were tested. Participants: Thirty two physically active male participants were recruited. Results: Heart rate and oxygen uptake were significantly lower in the URN condition compared to all other…conditions. The RF condition was significantly more taxing than all the other conditions. EE was significantly lower between the URN condition and the RN and URF conditions. Central RPE was significantly higher in the RF condition compared to the URN condition. Local RPE was significantly lower comparing the URN and RF conditions. The effect of reach was perceived to have a significant effect on both cardiovascular and musculoskeletal demands whereas ceiling height only had a significant effect on musculoskeletal demands. The greatest discomfort was experienced in the lower back with the most intense discomfort occurring in the RN condition. Conclusions: The RF condition placed the most strain on the participants and the URN, the least strain. The other two conditions were comparable and placed moderate strain on the participants.
Abstract: Objective: The present study aimed to improve safety and health in informal economy workplaces such as home workplaces, small construction sites, and rural farms in Cambodia by using "participatory" approach. Methods and Participants: The government, workers' and employers' organizations and NGOs jointly assisted informal economy workers in improving safety and health by using participatory training methodologies. The steps taken were: (1) to collect existing good practices in safety and health in Cambodia; (2) to…develop new participatory training programmes for home workers and small construction sites referring to ILO's WISE training programme, and (3) to train government officers, workers, employers and NGOs as safety and health trainers. The participatory training programmes developed consisted of action-checklists associated with illustrations, good example photo sheets, and texts explaining practical, low-cost improvement measures. Results: The established safety and health trainers reached many informal economy workers through their human networks, and trained them by using the developed participatory training programmes. More than 3,000 informal economy workers were trained and they implemented improvements by using low-cost methods. Conclusions: Participatory training methodologies and active cooperation between the government, workers, employers and NGOs made it possible to provide practical training for those involved in the informal economy workplaces.
Abstract: Objective: The major objective of this article is to critically examine changes in social stratification and social mobility of the peasant workers in the post-Mao period, with particular reference to examine whether and how the selected peasant workers in Dongguan city in South China have asserted themselves in protecting their labour rights. Methods: The present studies is based upon intensive policy and documentary analysis, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and survey in getting first-hand…data from conducting fieldwork in China. Participants: Migrant workers in Dongguan city in South China. Results: Although peasant workers are becoming more concerned with their economic and social rights, they have not attempted to organize themselves as organized social organizations in protecting their own interests. Despite the fact that peasant workers may have a greater awareness of the interests as a social group, such a consciousness has not been developed into a distinct class identity. Conclusions: Without a distinct class identity, coupled with a lack of organized social forces in asserting their class interests, peasant workers have not formed themselves into an organized social class right now, especially as many of them still consider themselves having a peasant status instead of obtaining a new citizenship associated with working in urban China.
Abstract: Objective: The primary goal of this study was to use the Strain Index (SI) to assess the risk of developing upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders in a television (TV) manufacturing industry and evaluate the effectiveness of an educational intervention. Methods: The project was designed and implemented in two stages. In first stage, the SI score was calculated and the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire (NMQ) was completed. Following this, hazardous jobs were identified and existing risk factors…in these jobs were studied. Based on these data, an educational intervention was designed and implemented. In the second stage, three months after implementing the interventions, the SI score was re-calculated and the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire (NMQ) completed again. Participants: 80 assembly workers of an Iranian TV manufacturing industry were randomly selected using simple random sampling approach. Results: The results showed that the SI score had a good correlation with the symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders. It was also observed that the difference between prevalence of signs and symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders, before and after intervention, was significantly reduced. Conclusions: A well conducted implementation of an interventional program with total participation of all stakeholders can lead to a decrease in musculoskeletal disorders.
Keywords: Musculoskeletal disorders, strain index, assembly work
Abstract: Objective: This article presents a rights-based approach to the way occupational health and safety is understood, departing from medical, engineering, and technocratic approaches that dominated the field throughout the 20th century. Moving toward a 21st century concept of the good society – based on citizenship rights and principles of universalism – a social protection-based system of assessing governments' performance in protecting workers' health and well-being is proffered. Methods: A Work…Security Index (WSI) is used as a benchmarking system for evaluating national or local level governments' performance in this domain. Data from 95 countries in all regions of the world were used. A pioneering tool the WSI grouped and ranked countries based on governments' protection of workers' health and safety. Participants: Data represent findings from 95 national governments, as well as workers and employers. Results: Among 95 countries, most have much work to do to provide the minimum measures to protect their working populations. Results reveal that women workers face particular social and economic insecurities and inequalities. Conclusions: We attempt to inform a broad audience about the WSI, how it can be used at multiple levels in any country for the protection of workers' health, safety, and well-being, and the need to do so.
Keywords: Rights-based approach, occupational health and safety, work security index, worker protection, women workers
Abstract: Universally musculoskeletal disorders are among the leading causes of low productivity in today's work environment. The situation is reportedly even worse in developing countries with appalling working conditions in many industries. In addition, there is often an acute lack of awareness of ergonomics issues, education and training programmes, and certification within developing countries. Numerous studies internationally have highlighted musculoskeletal risk factors associated with the textile industry and garment-making jobs because of highly…repetitive work in awkward work postures. Objective: The objective of this study was to identify and describe possible ergonomics deficiencies in the workstation of sewing machine operators in a textile industry in Botswana as well as their perception of workload and bodily discomfort. Participants: This study focused on one textile manufacturing factory in Botswana where 157 female sewing machine operators were recruited as participants. Methods: A modified Corlett and Bishop body map questionnaire and the NASA TLX were administered and relevant anthropometric and workplace layout measurements were collected. Results: The results of the study revealed a high prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders. Conclusions: Back, neck and shoulder discomfort are highly prevalent among these sewing machine operators. This study proposes intervention strategies including the re-design of the workstations and seating and the provision of training in basic ergonomics principles for improving the work-life of these operators and provides a base for further research on the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders among sewing machine operators in developing countries.
Keywords: Musculoskeletal disorders, mental workload, physical workload, absenteeism, developing countries
Abstract: Objective: Increasing awareness of the high physical cost associated with lifting has led to the redesign of these tasks, incorporating manual handling devices and consequently pushing and pulling. Little research has focused on muscle activity responses to pushing and pulling, the current study therefore investigated these responses to further the understanding of risk of injury, informing ergonomics intervention strategies. Methods: A laboratory study was undertaken to determine the effect of three push/pull techniques and…two loads (250 and 500 kg) on muscle activation in nine muscles, distributed through the upper and lower body. Unloaded forward and backward walking were used as control conditions for lower limb muscle activation. Participants: Thirty-six healthy male volunteers participated in the study. Subjects were required to manoeuvre a loaded pallet jack at a velocity of 0.45–0.55 statures. Results: The muscles of the shoulders and upper extremity were affected to a greater degree by technique and load changes than those of the lower limbs. Further, high levels of erector spinae activation were recorded across all six experimental conditions. Conclusions: Each technique displayed a unique muscle activation profile, indicating that alternating between techniques may reduce early onset of fatigue. Further understanding of muscle activation during pushing and pulling is necessary.