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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: Objectives: To understand experiences and perspectives of job retention project users in relation to challenges faced and support received; to develop explanatory insight into effective interventions. Participants: Fourteen employed users of a United Kingdom job retention project, with a range of mental health problems. Methods: Semi-structured individual interviews which were collaboratively designed with service users. Data analysis involved deductive and inductive thematic analysis, constant comparative analysis, and service user collaboration.…Results: Participants' feelings of guilt and self blame were a major obstacle to job retention. The project helped them address these by supporting a reappraisal of their situation. This assisted identification of job accommodations and adjustments and confidence in self advocacy. Thus an important basis for improved dialogue with their employer was established. A peer support group provided an important adjunct to individual project worker interventions. 10 participants retained employment; three of those who did not were helped to retain work aspirations. Conclusions: The project effectively used a multi-faceted approach involving a person-environment-occupation focus on the worker, their work, and workplace. Such complex interventions may offer more promise than those interventions (such as cognitive behavioural therapy) which have a primary focus on the individual worker.
Abstract: Objective: This research project was designed to test the immediate effect of using assistive reading software – Kurzweil 3000 (K-3000) for high school students with learning disabilities (LD) to improve their English reading and other school performances. Participants: 29 Taiwanese high school students with LD were randomly assigned to one of two groups: (1) use of the K-3000 or (2) control group (using a pen and paper) Methods: Both groups were asked to complete the standardized…measurements using pen and paper a pre-test. Students in experiment group used the K-3000 to do the post-test after they were familiarized with the K-3000, while the students in the control group used pen and paper for the post-test. The differences between the pre-test and post-test of two groups were analyzed. Results: The results suggested that the K-3000 had an immediate impact on students' English word recognition and pronunciation. However, the use of K-3000 did not have a significant influence on the students' general English proficiency, learning adjustment, and academic self-perception. Conclusions: The use of K-3000 had a positive effect on students' English word recognition. The reason why there was no significant change in students' other performances could be due to the length of the intervention.
Abstract: Objectives: This research aimed to understand the information technology (IT) employees' perception and approach towards union formation in the Indian IT Industry. Participants: Fifty IT professionals from three different organizations participated in this study who were dispersed throughout the organizational hierarchy and were selected via randomized quota sampling to reflect a mix of age, experience, gender and position they held with the organization. Methods: Qualitative methods were used in order to collect…the data, through phenomenological principles. Results: Discussion with the participants led to the emergence of four themes which influence the employees' perception of trade union formation the Indian IT industry. These were: (a) feeling of a blue collar, (b) collective to individual bargaining, (c) changing role of HR and (d) other reasons. Conclusions: This study provided a tentative starting point towards the greater understanding of the employee's perceived notion of organizational life that influences employee's outlook towards trade unionism. Based on the study findings, there is an imperative that the human resource department, organizational forerunners and trade union philosophers continue to use research findings to understand employees' views about union formation in the IT industry.
Keywords: Worker, factory, blue collar, bargaining, qualitative, India
Abstract: Objective: The Therapeutic Return to Work (TRW) is a comprehensive rehabilitation process that is centralised in the workplace and consists of a worker's progressive return to his or her regular work. A programme impact theory for the TRW and three mechanism hypotheses were developed (Durand et al., 2003). The objective of this study was to validate the mechanism hypotheses. Participants: Construction workers who received compensation for low back pain. Methods: A multiple-case…study was carried out. Data on the programme activities were collected on a repeated basis using validated measurement instruments and semi-structured interviews of the 20 participants and the clinicians responsible for them. Analyses were carried out using the pattern matching technique. Results: The results supported two of the three hypotheses proposed in the impact theory, specifically, that the development of competent work behaviours is a key factor in promoting return to work and appears to be associated with a reduction in work environment constraints, an improvement in work capacities and the presence of concerted action. Conclusion: This study revealed that rehabilitation interventions carried out in the workplace and involving workers with low back pain are both complex and embedded in the social environment, and that the actions taken must be coordinated in collaboration with various stakeholders.
Keywords: Work rehabilitation, programme impact theory, validation, return to work
Abstract: Objective: The aim of this study is to describe and analyse two important dimensions of vocational rehabilitation for disadvantaged groups and persons with disabilities: interagency collaboration and social representations. Participants: Four focus group discussions were conducted. The participants were 20 officials of various agencies who had taken part in collaboration projects in vocational rehabilitation. Methods: Qualitative content analysis was used for the analysis. The material was categorised and central themes identified.…Results: Three themes emerged: 'Collaboration Process', 'Other Agencies' and 'Object for Collaboration'. The results indicate that interagency collaboration is very important in vocational rehabilitation, but that there are a number of obstacles to smooth collaboration. The professionals of the different agencies shared social representations to a great extent. Working with people with psychiatric disorders is especially challenging, and conflicts tended to arise between the projects and the home organisations. Conclusions: Recognition of others' knowledge and respectfulness toward other professions facilitated vocational rehabilitation and the interagency collaboration process. The agencies' lack of flexibility increased the risk of conflicts as attempts were made to integrate the new working methods developed within the projects into the ordinary activities of the agencies.
Keywords: Social representations, interprofessional, unemployed, cooperation, disability
Abstract: Objective: The purpose of this study was to systematically review the literature to answer three questions: 1) what is the best backpack positioning on the spine; 2) what are the human effects of front packs and double packs compared to backpacks; and 3) what is best shoulder strap design. Methods: A systematic review of the literature using eight databases was carried out. Studies relevant to backpack design were retrieved. Two independent reviewers assessed the…papers; a third party was used for consensus decisions. Descriptive characteristics, type of research design and level of evidence of papers were evaluated with a view to pooling data. The trials were also quality appraised using a modified Crombie tool. Results: Thirty papers met the inclusion criteria. There were similarities in methods of measurement between some papers but subject's age group, tasks performed and backpack usages were so different between studies that it prevented data pooling and made it difficult to draw firm generic conclusions. Subsequent qualitative analysis shows that there are conflicting results on best backpack placement and shoulder strap design but front packs and double packs provide better posture than backpacks. Conclusions: Some recommendations for best practice design are made for children and adults based on elements of design and correct spinal placement.
Abstract: Objectives: The purpose of this study was to compare the 12-month prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms and risk factors associated with computer-based work between occupations in a sample of Australian public sector employees. Method: A cross-sectional study was completed with employees of 6 government departments. An online survey was electronically distributed to over 8,000 employees characterised by a range of occupational groups and levels of employment. Data collected included individual and employment characteristics,…estimation of hours worked with a computer per day and self-reported musculoskeletal symptoms in the upper extremity and spinal areas using the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire. Results: Responses from 934 completed surveys could be used. There was no significant difference in the prevalence of reported musculoskeletal symptoms between occupational groups except for the wrist/hand and elbow areas. Estimated duration of computer work per day was significantly associated with increased musculoskeletal symptoms in the neck (OR 1.41, 95%CI: 1.09 to 1.83), wrist/hand/s (OR 1.46, 95%CI: 1.17 to 1.83) and elbow/s (OR 1.41, 95%CI: 1.07 to 1.85) areas, with the finding of a linear relationship between hours worked and prevalence of symptoms. A greater proportion of employees in higher level management and professional occupational groups were found to be working with a computer in excess of 6 to 8 hours per day compared with those in non-professional (administration and secretarial) groups. Conclusion: Hours worked with a computer per day was a significant risk factor for reported musculoskeletal symptoms amongst all occupational groups working in Australian public sector offices. No significant difference in the level of risk was found between occupations.
Abstract: In students with physical disabilities, the more energy and time required and invested into finding a good posture, the longer the learning process takes. For this reason, the objective of this study was to characterize the posture in the act of writing of wheelchair users in a classroom. Eight students, (three women) aged 18–40, of some of the main universities of the city of Santiago de Cali participated. An observational field study filming of approximately 10…minutes was done while they took notes in their classes. Posture of the head, trunk, and upper extremities was analyzed with respect to its axis and the type of movement in each joint. The postures were classified depending on the location of support surface finding five different postures in the eight students. In these five postures some biomechanical risk factors, usually present in wheelchair users, are increased when they are associated with those postures. Those associated risk factors are: possible disc spine deformation, muscular stress and causing of pressure ulcer. In conclusion, in four of these five postures a poor interaction among person, task and work desk was observed. Therefore, seven of the eight students in this study were found to have a posture that could be considered risky.
Abstract: Objective: Little is known about how social aspects of the work environment influence exposures or safety practices affecting young construction workers. Our objective was to investigate whether working on a construction site with a small number of workers (⩽ 10 vs. 11–50) or having a family-firm connection (working in a firm owned by a family member or one in which a family member also works) impacts hazard exposures and safety practices. Participants: Participants included…187 North Carolina construction workers 14 to 17 years old who were surveyed about their jobs. Methods: We conducted stratified analyses using cross-tabulations and chi-square statistics to measure associations between workgroup size (i.e., the total number of workers on a jobsite) and family-firm connections (yes/no) and hazard exposures (e.g., saws) and safety practices (e.g., supervision). Results: Having a family-firm connection was associated with fewer hazard exposures and greater safety practices. Youth who worked on jobsites with a larger workgroup (11–50 workers) reported more hazards but also more safety practices. Conclusions: Family-firm connections, in particular, may have a protective effect for youth in construction. Even though the statistical significance of our findings on workgroup size was limited in places, the pattern of differences found suggest that further research in this area is warranted.
Keywords: Workplace health and safety, workgroup size, family networks, family ties
Abstract: Objective: To identify employee perceptions regarding disability-related workplace issues in Institutions of Higher Education (IHE). Participants: Faculty and staff (N=1,144) at a large, Midwestern university. Methods: A voluntary on-line survey of disability-related employment issues was developed by the university's Chancellor's Committee of Persons with Disabilities. Item responses were analyzed using descriptive and Pearson chi-square statistical methods. Results: Fifteen percent of faculty and staff respondents were found to…have disabilities, with 26% reporting experience of job discrimination, and 20% reporting harassment because of their disability. Results indicated significant differences on gender, employment standing (i.e., faculty or staff) and disability status (i.e., with or without a disability), in regard to perceptions of disability acceptance, campus accessibility, disability awareness, ADA policy, and knowledge of work accommodation procedures. Conclusions: Recommendations for IHEs are provided to promote a welcoming and inclusive campus that ultimately supports work success for persons with a disability.
Abstract: Objective: Previous studies indicate that noise may affect worker attention. However, some background music in the work environment can increase worker satisfaction and productivity. This study compared how music with, and without, lyrics affects human attention. Participants: One hundred and two participants, aged 20–24 years, were recruited into this study. Fifty-six males and 46 females participated in this study. Methods: Background music with, and without lyrics, was tested for effects on listener…concentration in attention testing using a randomized controlled trial (RCT) study. Results: The comparison results revealed that background music with lyrics had significant negative effects on concentration and attention. Conclusions: The findings suggest that, if background music is played in the work environment, music without lyrics is preferable because songs with lyrics are likely to reduce worker attention and performance.
Keywords: Work environment, music with lyrics, occupational form, occupational performance
Abstract: Objective: The main objective of this study is to evaluate the impact of school furniture and work surface lighting on the body posture of public Middle School students from Paraíba (Brazil). Participants and methods: The survey was carried out in two public schools and the target population for the study included 8th grade groups involving a total of 31 students. Brazilian standards for lighting levels, the CEBRACE standards for furniture measurements and the Postural Assessment…Software (SAPO) for the postural misalignment assay were adopted for the measurements comparison. The statistic analysis includes analyses of parametric and non-parametric correlations. Results: The results show that the students' most affected parts of the body were the spine, the regions of the knees and head and neck, with 90% of the total number of students presenting postural misalignment. The lighting levels were usually found below 300 lux, below recommended levels. The statistic analysis show that the more adequate the furniture seems to be to the user, the less the user will complain of pain. Conclusions: Such results indicate the need of investments in more suitable school furniture and structural reforms aimed at improving the lighting in the classrooms, which could fulfill the students' profile and reduce their complaints.
Abstract: Objective: The aim of this study was to identify the central concepts of a model that would facilitate the return to work process of individuals with brain injury. However for the purpose of this paper there will be a focus only on the barriers and facilitators that influence the return to work process. Participants: Ten individuals who were diagnosed with a mild to moderate brain injury participated in this study. Methods: Qualitative research methods were used…in order to explore the research question. The participants were selected by means of purposive sampling and the data was collected by means of in depth interviews. Results: The results of the study revealed that the participants experienced a sense of loss of function after the brain injury, a fear of the future and loss of confidence in their worker roles. The participants also indicated that by means of adapting occupational routines and actively engaging in rehabilitation they developed confidence in their worker roles. Conclusion: Occupational therapists have to use a client centred holistic work integrative approach in order to successfully rehabilitate as well as facilitate the return to work process with people who have suffered a traumatic brain injury.
Keywords: Traumatic brain injury, human occupation, work, occupational science, occupational therapy, occupational deprivation, vocational rehabilitation and client-centred approach
Abstract: Objective: After the change from cost allowance to a German system of Diagnosis-Related Groups there has been much public discussion about how the new terms of employment within the health sector are increasingly in conflict with individuals' original motivations for their career choice. If such criticism remains unheard a further loss of employees might occur. Methods: Two decades of professional experiences have been reviewed. The results were personally assessed and summarized in a field report. Participants:…One senior physician, Department of Anesthesiology, University Hospital. Results: In total, a deliberate contact approach by management to address employees' criticisms and grumbling about the terms of employment is essential for enterprise's success. Conclusions: While employees can introduce criticisms more constructively to contribute ideas that protect the enterprise's success, executives will have to position themselves in such a way as to be open to these perspectives. Constructive contact with "hospital troublemakers" should be implemented into the enterprise culture. Guidance is necessary to institute such changes.