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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: Workplace violence threat assessment and management practices represent an interdisciplinary approach to the diversion of potentially dangerous employees and clients. This case study illustrates such an intervention in a complex situation involving a social service agency and its client. Following a curtailment of services and an arrest, the client developed an escalating homicidal anger toward the agency administrator. Once a Tarasoff warning was received, the agency contacted a security company who organized a…threat assessment and management plan involving interdisciplinary collaboration. Information developed in the course of the assessment was presented to prosecutors, who facilitated the client's arrest and involuntary psychiatric commitment until he was judged to be no longer dangerous. This case ultimately involved an integration of the services of security, law enforcement, mental health professionals, prosecutors, the courts and the state mental health system in leading to a successful diversion of the client from a path of intended violence.
Keywords: Prevention, TAM, postal, Tarasoff, workplace
Abstract: Objectives: Using a variety of sources, the author explores the complex reasons for aggression and violence in workplace settings, as well as suggesting means of prevention and intervention. Methods: Literature Review. Results: Studies indicate workplace violence affects more than half of U.S. organizations, yet nearly 70 percent have no programs or policies to deal with this problem. Research indicates that aggressive behavior of a psychological nature often precedes physical violence in the workforce, yet…employers regularly ignore warning signs even when reported by employees. Costs to U.S. employers are estimated in the millions due to employee absences, medical costs, theft, and costs related to litigation. Conclusions: Organizations with cultures which support fair working conditions and zero-tolerance for workplace aggression have been shown to help mitigate workplace violence.
Abstract: Objective: The emergency department (ED) is among the most at-risk settings for violence by patients and visitors against ED workers. A first response to potential or actual events of workplace violence is often contacting hospital security officers for assistance. The purpose of this study is to describe ED workers' views of security officers' effectiveness during actual events of verbal and/or physical violence. Participants: Healthcare workers (n=31) from an urban pediatric ED in the Midwest United…States. Methods: Participants were interviewed regarding their experiences with workplace violence. Verbatim transcripts were qualitatively analyzed. Results: Six themes were identified: (1) a need for security officers, (2) security officers' availability and response, (3) security officers' presence or involvement, (4) security officers' ability to handle violent situations, (5) security officers' role with restraints, and (6) security officers' role with access. Conclusions: It is important that early communication between security officers and ED workers takes place before violent events occur. A uniform understanding of the roles and responsibilities of security officers should be clearly communicated to ED workers. Future research needs to be conducted with hospital-based security officers to describe their perceptions about their role in the prevention and management of workplace violence.
Abstract: Objective: Low levels of safety climate and training have been associated with higher occurrence of occupational-related health outcomes; workplace violence and verbal abuse could be considered an early indicator of escalating psychological workplace violence. We examined whether low level of safety factors were associated with a higher prevalence of verbal abuse at the workplace. Methods: We used data from a cross-sectional survey administered among a stratified random sample of 1,000 employees from 10 of…the 29 public hospitals in Costa Rica. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) were calculated using survey logistic regression models to estimate the association between safety factors and verbal abuse from the following sources: administrators, supervisors, patients, patients' relatives and coworkers. Results: There was a high prevalence of verbal abuse among the healthcare workforce from both external (i.e., patients and patients' relatives) and internal workplace sources (i.e., coworkers, supervisors and administrators). A low level of safety climate was associated with verbal abuse from all sources with associations ranging from verbal abuse from administrators (OR=6.07; 95%CI: 2.05–17.92) to verbal abuse from patients (OR=2.24; 95%CI: 1.23–4.09). Conclusion: These results highlight the need to address organizational characteristics of the workplace that may increase the risk of verbal abuse for the future development of prevention interventions in this setting.
Abstract: A case-control study design was used to investigate risks of work-related physical assault (PA) associated with a history of violent victimization among educators. A total of 6,469 state-licensed educators (Kindergarten – Grade 12) worked in the previous 12~months and were eligible to participate. Exposure data were collected from cases (reporting a PA event in previous 12 months, n=290) for the month before PA, and from controls (no work-related PA in previous 12 months; n=867) for a…randomly selected working month. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals identified increased risks for educators with any prior history of work-related (17.3, 11.4–26.3) or non-work-related PA (2.0, 1.2–3.5). In addition, PA risk in the previous twelve months increased with the number of previous victimizations, and risk also increased for educators with histories of non-physical violence (work- and non work-related). The results present a compelling case for targeted interventions and further research.
Abstract: Objective: To examine the association between violence prevention safety climate measures and self reported violence toward staff in state-run residential addiction treatment centers. Methods: In mid-2006, 409 staff from an Eastern United States state agency that oversees a system of thirteen residential addiction treatment centers (ATCs) completed a self-administered survey as part of a comprehensive risk assessment. The survey was undertaken to identify and measure facility-level risk factors for violence, including staff…perceptions of the quality of existing US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) program elements, and ultimately to guide violence prevention programming. Key informant interviews and staff focus groups provided researchers with qualitative data with which to understand safety climate and violence prevention efforts within these work settings. Results: The frequency with which staff reported experiencing violent behavior ranged from 37% for "clients raised their voices in a threatening way to you" to 1% for "clients pushed, hit, kicked, or struck you". Findings from the staff survey included the following significant predictors of violence: "client actively resisting program" (OR=2.34, 95% CI=1.35, 4.05), "working with clients for whom the history of violence is unknown" (OR=1.91, 95% CI=1.18, 3.09) and "management commitment to violence prevention" reported as "never/hardly ever" and "seldom or sometimes" (OR=4.30 and OR=2.31 respectively), while controlling for other covariates. Conclusions: We utilized a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods to begin to describe the risk and potential for violence prevention in this setting. The prevalence of staff physical violence within the agency's treatment facilities was lower than would be predicted. Possible explanations include the voluntary nature of treatment programs; strong policies and consequences for resident behavior and ongoing quality improvement efforts. Quantitative data identified low management commitment to violence prevention as a significant predictor of staff reported violence.
Abstract: Objective: To examine employee's perception of safety and related workplace safety and prevention issues, including their use of self-protection measures and victimization experience. Participants: The Workplace Risk Supplement (WRS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) was administered to 55,158 employed respondents who were 16 years or older. Methods: Trained U.S. Census Bureau interviewers administered the WRS in all households selected for the NCVS during the 6-month reference period from January through…June 2002. Responses from the 55,158 WRS respondents were weighted to obtain national estimates, resulting in 142,410,858 cases. Results: The demographic distribution of WRS respondents is very similar to that of the U.S. labor force. Seven percent of respondents reported that they worried about someone in their workplace attacking them, while nearly 4% experienced victimization. The majority indicated that they felt that their workplace, the neighborhood around their workplace, and places they traveled to as part of their job were either "Very Safe" or "Somewhat Safe" from crime. Six percent carried some type of self protection while at work although this varied by occupation. Conclusions: Employees largely feel safe from violence while working. Differences in victimization by occupation bolster efforts to focus workplace violence prevention in high-risk occupations.
Abstract: Objectives: This study reports trends in the pattern of injuries related to workplace violence over the period 1997–2007. It tracks occupations and industries at elevated risk of workplace violence with a special focus on the persistently high claims rates among healthcare and social assistance workers. Methods: Industry and occupational incidence rates were calculated using workers' compensation and employment security data from Washington State. Results: Violence-related claims rates among certain…Healthcare and Social Assistance industries remained particularly high. Incidents where workers were injured by clients or patients predominated. By contrast, claims rates in retail trade have fallen substantially. Conclusions: Progress to reduce violence has been made in most of the highest hazard industries within the Healthcare and Social Assistance sector with the notable exception of psychiatric hospitals and facilities caring for the developmentally disabled. State legislation requiring healthcare workplaces to address hazards for workplace violence has had mixed results. Insufficient staffing, inadequate violence prevention training and sporadic management attention are seen as the key barriers to violence prevention in healthcare/social assistance workplaces.
Keywords: Assault injury, health care, occupational safety, surveillance
Abstract: Objective: To study if sick leave among employees in the Swedish Police was associated with experiences of discrimination, harassment, or (threats of) violence. Participants: All employees in the Swedish Police in 2005. Methods: Analyses of data from a questionnaire to all employees; 74% (n=16,725) responded. Odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) between sick leave and the studied factors were assessed. Results: The rate of sickness absence was higher for women (12%) than for…men (8%) (p< 0.001). More women than men had experienced discrimination, while more men reported harassment from the public and experiences of threats or violence. ORs were significant between sick-leave and discrimination, sexual harassment, and violence, and higher for the men. Associations between harassment from the public, threats of violence or violence, and sickness absence were statistically significant for men only. Conclusion: The study identifies the importance of investigating discrimination, harassment, and violence in relation to health outcomes for both male and female Police employees.
Keywords: Sick leave, sexual harassment, risk factors, gender, work
Abstract: Objectives: The purpose of this study was to define a comprehensive construct, workplace hostility, encompassing sub-areas of harmful workplace behaviors. Key characteristics include: perception of the target, persistence, intentionality, nonphysical nature, and organizational affiliation. Participants: Pilot study participants (N=42, students and N=35, workers) were small convenience samples. Main study participants (N=393, 70% female) were working individuals and almost 50% reported 1 to 5 years in their current jobs. Methods: The two pilot…studies collected were surveys face-to-face. The main study used on-line surveys. Results: Based on the pilot studies, items from the Workplace Hostility Inventory (WHI) were judged as a reasonable set. Results from the main study suggested three subscales related to perceptions of being subjected to hostility: interference with work, denigration, and exclusion. Supervisors produced greater distress on all factors, but only exclusion predicted a desire to leave the organization. Distress was greater when the perpetrator was a woman or a group. After controlling for feelings toward coworkers and supervisors, WHI was not related to job satisfaction. Conclusions: The WHI was found to be an inclusive construct, representing numerous concepts. The WHI is comprehensive and global, encompassing the previous overlap in existing research.
Abstract: This post-hoc analysis discusses a replicable workplace behavior change module called Men and Women As Allies, that was designed and implemented by a team of labor, management and community anti-violence educators at a private sector telecommunications employer. A job site-specific educational seminar linked issues of domestic violence to male bullying and workplace violence. It challenged social stereotypes about gender, taught skills to engage ally peer behavior and provided information on how to seek assistance from union, workplace and…external community resources.
Abstract: Objective: This non-experimental, cross-sectional study examined social workers' perceptions of bullying work relationships and their ability to construct effective coping responses to perceived workplace bullying. Methods: Quantitative data were gathered through the use of a mailed questionnaire, and qualitative data resulted from semi-structured individual interviews. Participants: The quantitative sample consisted of 111 social workers from the metropolitan, Washington, DC area, who were employed in organizations. Two self-identified targets of bullying participated in…the interviews. Results: Nearly three of five social workers (58%) in the sample reported being the targets of demeaning, rude, and hostile workplace interactions more than once in the previous year. Targets were more likely to work in government agencies/military and mental health outpatient organizations (19% and 18% respectively). More than a third of targets (35%) held a direct service role (clinical/direct practice), whereas almost a third (29%) identified their role as administration or management. Conclusion: The findings from this study suggest that workplace bullying may be a problem for social workers and that the social work profession may need to develop tools and guidelines to help practitioners identify, confront and extinguish these behaviors.
Abstract: Objective: Contribute to the prevention of workplace violence by providing information about the nature and circumstances of nonfatal assaults among U.S. workers. Methods: Data were collected from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System occupational supplement (NEISS-Work), a stratified probability sample of U.S. hospitals. Workplace violence victims identified from NEISS-Work voluntarily completed a followback interview detailing the nature and circumstances surrounding their workplace violence incident. Results: The majority of…workplace violence injuries treated in emergency departments resulted from simple assaults that did not involve any lost time from work. Almost two-thirds of these workplace violence victims filed only an internal report. Eighty percent of the victims returned to their same jobs and will not change the way they do their jobs as a result of the violent incident. Conclusions: Nonfatal workplace violence is an important risk for U.S. workers, particularly in some occupations and industries. Prevention strategies need to be tailored by occupation and work environment. Results from the healthcare section of this survey indicate high numbers of incidents during times when the healthcare workers were assisting patients with medical and non-medical needs.
Abstract: Objective: Despite work organizations' attempts to reduce sexual harassment, it continues to be a salient issue for employers across all occupations. Extending social disorganization theory to the work environment, this study examines the relationship between workplace organization, social ties, and sexual harassment victimization. Participants: Survey responses to the 2002 and 2006 Quality of Working Life module from the General Social Survey by a sample of 3,530 adult men and women employees in the United…States were used. Methods: Logistic regression models were estimated for men and women separately to estimate the effect of workplace characteristics on the risk of sexual harassment victimization. Results: Employees who reported poor workplace relations between management and employees and lower coworker social ties were more likely to experience sexual harassment in their work environments. Specific workplace characteristics such as low productivity, poor time management, and inadequate administrative support were significantly related to increased sexual harassment risk. No significant gender differences were found across models suggesting that the predictors of sexual harassment are similar for men and women. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that workplace characteristics are related to sexual harassment risk in the workplace. Suggestions for sexual harassment prevention, including management and organizational strategies, are discussed.
Keywords: Sexual harassment, workplace violence, social disorganization theory, organizational characteristics, social ties
Abstract: Objective: A systematic review of over 4600 abstracts was performed to address the effectiveness of the current cumulative trauma disorder (CTD) interventions focused on the upper extremities of computer users. Participants: The researchers were the study participants. They included one Professor of Occupational Therapy and five Masters of Occupational Therapy Students from a Midwestern University. The Professor of Occupational Therapy has been practicing for 29 years. Methods: The researchers employed stringent inclusion…criteria for this review based on similar systematic review papers. Criteria for high quality qualitative research were incorporated to include studies other than randomized-controlled trials. This approach considered knowledge gained from specific interventions that were studied in greater detail with fewer clients. Results: The results of this study identified 25 articles that met the inclusion criteria. Further review ranked the selected articles into high, medium, or low quality based on criteria adapted from other studies. The highest levels of evidence were found for education and training in ergonomics, forearm supports, ergonomic keyboards, ergonomic mice, and exercise/rest breaks. Conclusions: Two models of practice were created from this review to assist occupational therapists or other professionals with intervention strategies for computer users with CTDs.