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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: To investigate slow and fast paced industrial activity hand repetitive movements associated with carpal tunnel syndrome where movements are evaluated based on finger and wrist tendon travel measurements. Methods: Nine healthy subjects were recruited for the study aged between 23 and 33 years. Participants mimicked an industrial repetitive task by performing the following activities: wrist flexion and extension task, palm open and close task; and pinch task. Each task was performed for a period…of 5 minutes at a slow (0.33 Hz) and fast (1 Hz) pace for a duration of 3 minutes and 2 minutes respectively. Results: Tendon displacement produced higher flexor digitorum superficialis (FDS) tendon travel when compared to the flexor digitorum profundus (FDP) tendons. The left hand mean (SD) tendon travel for the FDS tendon and FDP tendon were 11108 (5188) mm and 9244 (4328) mm while the right hand mean tendon travel (SD) for the FDS tendon and FDP tendon were 9225 (3441) mm and 7670 (2856) mm respectively. Of the three tasks mimicking an industrial repetitive activity, the wrist flexion and extension task produced the most tendon travel. Conclusion: The findings may be useful to researchers in classifying the level of strenuous activity in relation to tendon travel.
Abstract: Objective: The aim was to explore aspects of everyday life in addition to established risk factors and their relationship to subjective health and well-being among public sector employees in Sweden. Gainful employment impact on employees' health and well-being, but work is only one part of everyday life and a broader perspective is essential in order to identify health-related factors. Participants: Data were obtained from employees at six Social Insurance Offices in Sweden, 250 women…and 50 men. Method: A questionnaire based on established instruments and questions specifically designed for this study was used. Relationships between five factors of everyday life, subjective health and well-being were investigated by means of multivariate logistic regression analysis. Results: The final model revealed a limited importance of certain work-related factors. A general satisfaction with everyday activities, a stress-free environment and general control in addition to not having monotonous movements at work were found to be factors explaining 46.3% of subjective good health and well-being. Conclusions: A person's entire activity pattern, including work, is important, and strategies for promoting health should take into account the person's situation as a whole. The interplay between risk and health factors is not clear and further research is warranted.
Keywords: Work-life balance, stress, subjective health
Abstract: Ergonomic research on nursing work has focused primarily on the biomechanical analysis of patient handling tasks. Few studies have addressed the intensity of a full day of nursing work as measured by changes in heart rate and energy expenditure. Objective: A pilot study was conducted between August 2009 and May 2010 to examine the intensity of performing nursing assistant work in long term care settings and to assess the usefulness of heart rate monitoring as a…measure of work intensity. The residents of the facilities were physically dependent adults. The settings had floor-based mechanical lifting devices available and no-lift policies that restricted workers from lifting. Participants: Eight women between the ages of 19 and 54 from two facilities participated in this study. Methods: A wearable recorder allowed unobtrusive heart rate monitoring while nursing assistants worked their usual shift. Continuous heart rate monitoring for a full shift provided an estimation of energy expenditure. Results: The data suggest that the nursing assistants worked at a moderate level yet were within the safe work intensity level recommended by NIOSH . Conclusions: The information provides preliminary baseline data for nursing assistants who work with physically dependent adults using floor-based lifts in a no-lift environment.
Abstract: Objective: The goals of this project were to improve the understanding of risk factors that may lead to injury and increased turnover in home health aides, discover unexplored opportunities for intervention, and test those intervention ideas for potential effects, feasibility, and acceptance by home health aides and their employers. Methods: Analysis of injury data, extensive direct observation and analysis of aide-patient interactions, participatory intervention ideation focus group discussions, and intervention pilot testing was conducted.…Results: A method of categorizing each patient's level of skill in transfer and bathing activities, and their mobility assistance requirements was developed from information collected during the study as well as a review of the literature. In a pilot test, the new categorization scheme was used to control the aides' daily exposure to higher needs patients. The percentage of time that aides worked with patients in higher needs categories was found to be related to the aides' self-reports of end-of-shift fatigue and pain. Conclusion: Home health care companies may find that developing a scheduling system that manages the exposure of their aides to higher needs patients may be a feasible and effective method for reducing the aides' exposure to risk factors for musculoskeletal injuries.
Keywords: Home health aide, musculoskeletal disorder, risk factor exposure control, patient handling
Abstract: Objective: Three-fourths of diagnostic medical sonographers (DMS) and vascular technologists (VT) experiencing discomfort due to job demands indicate having discomfort in the shoulder region. An analysis of factors related to shoulder discomfort highlighted salient factors requiring further investigation and intervention. Participants: The respondents were a convenient sample of DMS and VT that answered a survey, hosted on a secure website. Methods: The responses of 2,163 DMS and VT from a survey of a…representative sample were analyzed to determine personal factors, work demands, and workstation design characteristics of those experiencing discomfort in the shoulder region. Frequencies and response distributions were calculated and cross tabulation with chi-square analysis was completed. Results: A majority of respondents with shoulder discomfort have co-morbid reports of discomfort in other locations. While overall sonographer discomfort is linked to age and years of experience, shoulder discomfort was also noted to be linked to specific workstation characteristics. A lack of adjustability in equipment, picture archiving and communication system (PACS) workstations, awkward and positions required to complete bedside exams contributes to discomfort due to sustained and repetitive shoulder abduction and twisting of the neck and trunk. Conclusions: There is a need for studies investigating redesign of equipment and workstations or interventions with DMS and VT specifically focused on improving adjustability and improved positioning of sonographers in order to reduce shoulder discomfort while performing job demands.
Keywords: Work-related musculoskeletal disorders, ergonomics, human factors
Abstract: Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSD) in sonographers have increased over the past 20 years with shoulder injuries being the most prevalent. Advancing ultrasound technologies have reduced a sonographer's need to move when performing exams and increased prolonged arm abduction, resulting in static work postures and decreased joint perfusion. Work modifications in other industries have demonstrated that reducing arm abduction to 30° reduces muscle firing and fatigue. Although this is the ideal work posture for…sonographers, there are many instances in which excessive arm abduction and static postures cannot be avoided. These positions are further complicated by the fact that the scanning arm is also supporting the weight of the ultrasound transducer. This observational case study evaluated the use of a moveable arm support system as a means to provide support for the scanning arm and reduce muscle firing during ultrasound exams in the scanning lab of a university diagnostic ultrasound educational program.
Keywords: Musculoskeletal injuries, arm support device, shoulder abduction, occupational injuries
Abstract: Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine work activities associated with work-related injury (WRI) in occupational and physical therapy. Participants: 1,158 occupational and physical therapists in Wisconsin responded to a mailed survey, from a total of 3,297 OTs and PTs randomly selected from the State licensure list. Methods: The study used a cross-sectional, survey design. Participants reported information about WRI they sustained between 2004 and 2006, including the activities they were…performing when injured. Investigators analyzed 248 injury incidents using qualitative and quantitative analysis. Results: Data were examined across OT and PT practice in general, and also by practice area. Manual therapy and transfers/lifts were associated with 54% of all injuries. Other activities associated with injury were distinct to practice area, for example: floor work in pediatrics; functional activities in acute care; patient falls in skilled nursing facilities; and motor vehicle activities in home care. Conclusions: Injury prevention activities must address transfers and manual therapy, but also must examine setting-specific activities influenced by environment and patient population.
Keywords: Occupational injury, therapy activities, pediatrics, skilled nursing facilities, rehabilitation, home health
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to identify safe patient handling (SPH) curricular content in accredited occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant programs in the United States of America. A survey was emailed to 155 accredited occupational therapy and 137 accredited occupational therapy assistant programs. With a 39% response rate, most programs addressed SPH curricula by including lectures and lab-based experiences with gait belts, slide boards, and manual transfers while stressing 'safe' body mechanics. There…were limited responses regarding curricular-based hands-on experience, evaluation of sit-to-stand lifts, how to safely transfer bariatric persons, and information on "no-lift" policies. While occupational therapists have a central role in teaching SPH to caregivers, it is important to enhance SPH curricula to reduce exposure to musculoskeletal risk, thereby, increasing the health and safety of the occupational therapy workforce as well those whom the profession serves.