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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: Increasing evidence suggests that one in four sign language interpreters (SLIs) may experience symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) severe enough to modify their activities. This systematic review examined published research on SLIs and the development of MSD pathology, seeking to identify injury pathways to MSDs and work-related factors with the largest impact in targeted MSD-reduction intervention. Methods: Embase and Medline electronic databases were searched from their inception until March 2009, finding 23 eligible…peer-reviewed papers related to MSD pathology in SLIs, including narrative reviews, intervention studies, and qualitative and quantitative research. Results: Three factors were shown to have limited support as increasing the risk for MSD pathology in SLI: increased mechanical exposure, stress, and speaker's pace (a contributor to movement rate). Overall, the published literature was rated medium to low quality, with limited statistical methods and power, often lacking description of how dependent variables were measured, and how risk of biasing or confounding was minimized. Conclusions: A conceptual model was developed to integrate the multi-factorial elements of MSD pathology development among SLIs. However, to strengthen development of evidence-based practice and policy-driven initiatives, higher-quality research is warranted to examine MSD pathology amongst SLIs.
Abstract: Objective: To perform a comprehensive literature review pertaining to cystic fibrosis (CF) and employment. Methods: We performed extensive searches of the Pub Med and the EBSCOhost electronic databases to discover articles pertaining to CF and employment. Results: Nine journal articles published between 1979 and 2009 pertaining to CF and employment aspects were reviewed and analyzed. Strengths and limitations of the studies are discussed and recommendations for future research are provided.…Conclusions: There is limited psychosocial research in the area of CF and its employment aspects. The findings from this literature review indicate that maintaining employment depends on multiple variables. Further research on CF and employment is necessary to improve vocational outcomes. Understanding the interplay of CF and employment informs the rehabilitation knowledge base and is essential in order for professionals involved in employment outcomes such as rehabilitation counselors to deliver vocational services.
Keywords: Chronic illness, employment, vocational rehabilitation, work disability
Abstract: Objective: The Job Demand Control model presents combinations of working conditions that may facilitate learning, the active learning hypothesis, or have detrimental effects on health, the strain hypothesis. To test the active learning hypothesis, this study analysed the effects of job demands and job control on general problem-solving strategies. Participants: A population-based sample of 4,636 individuals (55% women, 45% men) with the same job characteristics measured at two times with a three year time…lag was used. Methods: Main effects of demands, skill discretion, task authority and control, and the combined effects of demands and control were analysed in logistic regressions, on four outcomes representing general problem-solving strategies. Results: Those reporting high on skill discretion, task authority and control, as well as those reporting high demand/high control and low demand/high control job characteristics were more likely to state using problem solving strategies. Conclusions: Results suggest that working conditions including high levels of control may affect how individuals cope with problems and that workplace characteristics may affect behaviour in the non-work domain.
Keywords: Work characteristics, longitudinal, spill-over, learning
Abstract: Objective: To determine whether employees with disabilities were initially assigned to jobs with work demands that matched their work capacities. Participants: Forty-six employees with various physical, mental, sensory and multiple disabilities working in a sheltered workshop. Methods: Physical and psychosocial work capacities were assessed post-offer and pre-placement using the Ergo-Kit and Melba. Work demands of the jobs were determined by workplace assessments with TRAC and Melba and were compared with the work…capacities. Results: Of the 46 employees, 25 employees were not physically overloaded. When physical overload occurred, it was most often due to regular lifting. All employees were physically underloaded on six or more work activities, most often due to finger dexterity and manipulation. Almost all employees (n=43) showed psychosocial overload or underload on one or more psychosocial characteristics. Psychosocial overload was most often due to endurance (long-term work performance), while psychosocial underload was most often due to speaking and writing. Conclusion: Despite the assessment of work capacities at job placement, underload and overload occurred on both physical activities and psychosocial characteristics. Assessing both work capacities and work demands before job placement is recommended. At job placement more attention should be paid to overloading due to lifting and long-term work performance.
Keywords: Work capacity evaluation, physical, psychosocial, task performance, sheltered workshop
Abstract: Objective: The aim of this survey study was to identify trade-specific ergonomic issues, and discuss practical solutions to reduce work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) and injuries in the construction industry. Method: Thirty-two construction firms in the Midwestern United States completed the final survey questionnaire. Twelve different construction skilled trades participated included: general contractor, road, heavy and highway, concrete, electrical, carpentry, landscaping, plumbing, roofing, steel erection, street lighting/traffic signal, and utility construction.…Total workforce of the participating companies numbered 11,118 employees. Result: More than 90% of the participants in the survey had a written safety program; however, the majority of the firms did not have a trade-specific ergonomic intervention. The survey revealed that construction constructors perceived safety (worker well-being) as a high priority in their company. This study suggested that construction skilled-trade jobs the construction worker to employ trade-specific hand tools and working body positions that may contribute to different types of WMSD risks, body parts injured, and injury sources. Possible practical construction trade-specific ergonomic solutions might be considered includinge: selection of ergonomic hand tools, reduction of weight of construction materials, and promotion of wellness exercises. onclusion: This paper may imply that need for more trade-specific ergonomics program elements to help alleviate the work-related musculoskeletal problems in the construction field.
Abstract: Objective: A six-year study is exploring the most effective ways to disseminate ideas to reduce musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the construction sector. The sector was targeted because MSDs account for 35% of all lost time injuries. This paper reports on the organization of the construction sector, and maps potential pathways of communication, including social networks, to set the stage for future dissemination. Participants: The managers, health and safety specialists, union health and safety representatives,…and 28 workers from small, medium and large construction companies participated. Methods: Over a three-year period, data were collected from 47 qualitative interviews. Questions were guided by the PARIHS (Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services) knowledge-transfer conceptual framework and adapted for the construction sector. Findings: The construction sector is a complex and dynamic sector, with non-linear reporting relationships, and divided and diluted responsibilities. Four networks were identified that can potentially facilitate the dissemination of new knowledge: worksite-project networks; union networks; apprenticeship program networks; and networks established by the Construction Safety Association/Infrastructure Health and Safety Association. Conclusions: Flexible and multi-directional lines of communication must be used in this complex environment. This has implications for the future choice of knowledge transfer strategies.
Keywords: Diffusion of innovations, construction sector, musculoskeletal disorders, communication paths
Abstract: Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the effect of time of day and job type on performance of three functional capacity evaluation measures in healthy (asymptomatic) adults. It was queried whether or not a healthy population of adults would demonstrate a change in physical performance ability, when re-tested at the end of their work day. Setting: A convenience sample of 50 healthy adults (19–62 years, 66% male) was used from six work sites in an…urban area. Design: Same day pre-test and post-test testing was performed, implementing use of three commonly used functional capacity tests: Jamar dynamometer grip strength test, Turning sub-test of the Complete Minnesota Dexterity Test, and the 50-foot walk test. Methods: The study compared morning and afternoon test scores, and using t-tests, assessed the effect of job type (sedentary, light, medium, heavy) on performance using ANOVA. Results: All three measures improved from morning to afternoon; differences were statistically significant for 50-foot walk (mean=0.2 sec, p=0.02) and manual dexterity (mean=5 sec, p< 0.001). Job type had a significant effect on dexterity. Conclusions: Late day performance did not show any significant decline in this sample of healthy adults, and in fact tended to improve or stay relatively stable. Therefore, clinicians who perform functional capacity evaluations should consider alternative explanations for late-day functional declines observed in injured patients. These findings, combined with other test results, may assist clinicians with disability determination.
Abstract: Objective: The study describes and analyses the influence of a comprehensive intervention on premature discharges (i.e. the military training cannot be completed). Participants: 862 male soldiers from three military units were included. Methods: The intervention included a screening protocol with a questionnaire and physical tests for musculoskeletal complaints or injuries and functional limitations and, where needed, treatment, early rehabilitation and individually-adjusted physical training. The intervention also included organisation-based…training in ergonomics and exercise physiology for officers plus enhanced teamwork between officers and physiotherapist. Not all the soldiers underwent the intervention as planned. Results: The discharge rate was lower in all three units after either of the intervention programmes comparing premature discharge figures with before-implementation study figures. However, significantly fewer soldiers were discharged from the group who underwent the intervention as planned 6.1% compared to the group with the less intensive intervention, 13.1% (p=0.002). Conclusions: The results indicate that the comprehensive intervention programme can reduce the number of premature discharges from the Swedish Armed Forces. The differences between the groups indicate that the effectiveness was greater when the intervention was fully implemented with regard to intensity.
Keywords: Musculoskeletal complaints or injury, risk factors, screening
Abstract: Objective:Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCEs) have been utilized by healthcare professionals for over twenty years to provide an objective assessment of an individual's ability to safely perform functional work activities. Biomechanical observations have been established as a reliable method of determining safe maximal performance levels during dynamic lift testing in FCEs. The purpose of this study is to evaluate heart rate (HR) responses between participants in two performance levels (biomechanical safe-maximal and sub-maximal)…and to attempt to establish a minimum threshold for HR changes that should be expected during specific functional testing protocols within FCEs. Participants: Participants included 500 men and women aged 20 to 85 years whom were injured on the job. Methods: Variables measured included resting HR, pre-test HR, peak-HR, and resting blood pressure. Percent HR change was calculated for the safe-maximal and sub-maximal performance level groups. Results: Statistically significant differences (p=0.0000000306) were found in HR change from pre-test to peak HR between performance level groups. Conclusions: Statistically significant differences were found in percent change in pre-test to peak HR, between the safe-maximal and sub-maximal performance level groups. This study provides the foundation for further research in establishing appropriate minimum expected changes in HR during FCE testing allowing clinicians to make more confident judgments relative to performance level.