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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: BACKGROUND: Traumatic events often occur in workplace settings and can lead to stress reactions such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). One such workplace is the transportation industry, where employees are often exposed to trauma. However, extant research shows that a considerable proportion of people with PTSD do not seek specialty mental health treatment. OBJECTIVE: In this qualitative study, we sought to better understand the experience of a traumatic event at work and the barriers and motivating factors…for seeking mental health treatment. PARTICIPANTS: Twenty-nine Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) employees participated in a one-on-one interview, 18 soon after the traumatic event and 11 after entering a specialized treatment program. METHODS: Semi-structured, one-on-one interviews were conducting using qualitative description and analyzed using content analysis. RESULTS: Participants described emotional responses after the trauma such as guilt, anger, disbelief as particularly difficult, and explained that barriers to seeking help included the overwhelming amount and timing of paperwork related to the incident as well as negative interactions with management. Motivating factors included family and peer support, as well as financial and emotional issues which persuaded some to seek help. CONCLUSIONS: Seeking treatment is a multifactorial process. Implications and recommendations for the organization are discussed.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Australian workers' compensation data reports a reduction in injury rates and claim incidence but no improvement in Return to Work (RTW) rates. OBJECTIVE: To identify factors associated with a positive RTW outcome and describe those referred to Workplace Rehabilitation Providers (WRPs) in the New South Wales (NSW) Australian workers' compensation scheme. METHODS: A retrospective review of 65,762 de-identified WRP case records over a 5 year period. 9,262 cases specifically referred for…RTW assistance were analysed to identify factors associated with a positive RTW outcome RESULTS: Overall 47% of those referred for RTW services were able to upgrade their work status whilst 30% maintained their Stay at Work or pre-referral work status. The significant independent predictors associated with a positive RTW outcome were a shorter duration of disability (p< 0.001) (0R, 0.971; 95% CI, 0.964–0.977) and a higher socio economic index score (p=0.002) (OR, 1.131; 95% CI, 1.045–1.223). CONCLUSIONS: The study suggests that WRPs are seeing an increased focus on management of workers with increasing disability, with socio-economic disadvantage, increasing age, from blue collar backgrounds. The duration of disability is a significant determinant in achieving positive RTW outcomes suggesting that injured workers should be referred earlier for RTW services.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: School children usually use a backpack to carry their school materials. Carrying heavy schoolbags exceeding the recommended limit may have negative health implications. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the weight of schoolbags carried by primary school pupils (aged 7–9 years) in Grades 1–3 and determine how many pupils carry backpacks in excess of the recommended limit of 10 per cent of body weight (%BW). A comparison of the schoolbag weight carried by male and female pupils…will also be performed. PARTICIPANTS: One hundred and eight healthy pupils chosen at random from two participating schools from south-west Poland; 54 male and 54 female. METHODS: The personal body weight scale was used for measuring the weight. The height and weight of each participating pupil was measured, and the schoolbag weight of every participant checked over five consecutive days, from Monday to Friday. RESULTS: The mean schoolbag weight of Grade 1 pupils was 3.23 kg, (i.e.13.1%BW); of Grade 2 pupils, 3.61 kg (i.e.12.9%BW) and of Grade 3 pupils 3.37 kg (i.e. 11.1%BW). CONCLUSIONS: 78.3% of Grade 1 pupils, 43.3% of Grade 2 pupils and 40.0% of Grade 3 pupils carried backpacks exceeding 10%BW. There were no statistically significant differences between the mean schoolbag weight of males and females in particular school grades.
Keywords: Backpack weight, load carriage, children
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Playing a wind instrument can be either a reason for overuse or a protecting factor against certain diseases. Some individuals have many findings but low morbidity while others have few findings but high morbidity. This contradictory phenomenon should be researched. OBJECTIVE: The temporomandibular system (TMS) is a functional unit which comprises the mandible, associated muscles and bilateral joints with the temporal bone. The TMS is responsible for the generation of sound when wind…instruments are played. Over the long-term and with intensive usage, this causes changes in the musculature and in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) of wind musicians, often resulting in temporomandibular disorders (TMD). The aim of this study is to examine evidence that TMD constitute an occupational disease in wind musicians. PARTICIPANTS: TMD patients and wind musicians were examined by dental clinical functional analysis. 102 male subjects were divided into three groups: "healthy" individuals, wind musicians, and patients with TMD. METHODS: Dental Examination was carried out based on focused inclusion of the research diagnostic criteria – TMD [1,7]. Findings were evaluated for statistical significance by first transferring data into a digital database [2,15], then generating T-Test und Wilcoxon-Test when non-Gaussian distribution appears and applying the Mann-Whitney rank sum test using Sigmaplot Version 1.1 software (Systat Software Inc, Washington, USA). RESULTS: The evaluation revealed that wind instrument musicians show a high incidence of developing TMD as the researchers found almost 100% morbidity regarding parafunctional habits and preauricular muscle pain of each adult and highly active musician. The result is highly significant (p< 0.001) for protrusion distance of the mandible. CONCLUSIONS: A higher prevalence of functional disorders of the musculoskeletal system has previously been demonstrated in wind musicians. New research results and the typical functions of various wind instruments provide evidence that playing a wind instrument generates occupational risks to the TMS.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD's) are on the rise worldwide. These disorders have numerous repercussions, from serious ill-health effects at the individual level to decreased workplace efficiency and productivity affecting not only quality of life but the economy. OBJECTIVE: This review aims to provide an overview of WMSD's in the dental profession, more specifically, among general dental practitioners and specialist orthodontists. METHODS: Literature was hand searched from Pubmed with greater emphasis on…contemporary literature as the professionals demands have evolved over the years. RESULTS: While there have been numerous papers published relating to the prevalence of ergonomic problems among general dentists, orthodontists have received little investigation. CONCLUSION: This review highlights the need for research into the risk factors of WMSD's in the dental profession (both general dentistry and orthodontics), as this would provide a more direct approach for prevention which is essential as professionals work for longer years in practice.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Prolonged sitting has been shown to increase mortality and obesity. OBJECTIVE: We sought to determine whether physicians would use a treadmill desk, increase their daily physical activity and lose weight. PARTICIPANTS: 20 overweight and obese physicians aged 25 to 70 with Body Mass Index > 25. METHODS: Participants used a treadmill desk, a triaxial accelerometer, and received exercise counseling in a randomized, cross-over trial over 24 weeks. Group 1 received exercise counseling,…accelerometer feedback, and a treadmill desk for 12 weeks and then accelerometer only for 12 weeks. Group 2 received an accelerometer without feedback for 12 weeks followed by exercise counseling, accelerometer feedback, and the treadmill desk for 12 weeks. RESULTS: Daily physical activity increased while using the treadmill desk compared to not using the desk by 197 kcal per day (p=0.003). The difference in weight during the two 12 week periods was 1.85 kg (p=0.03). Percent body fat was 1.9% lower while using the treadmill desk (p=0.02). There were no differences in metabolic or well-being measures. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that physicians will use a treadmill desk, that it does increase their activity, and that it may help with weight loss. Further studies are warranted.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Hand usage and movement is routinely performed by all individuals daily irrespective of age. These movements can vary and can be repetitive in nature. Exposure of the hard and soft tissues of the hand to prolonged repetitive activities could contribute to the development of work related upper limb disorders (WRULD). OBJECTIVE: Within the work setting, work related upper limb disorders (WRULDs) rank high in the United Kingdom (UK), second only to back complaints.…This paper reports the amount of tendon travel and swelling that occurs in the hand during repetitive office activities associated with WRULDs. PARTICIPANTS: Nine healthy adults (five males; four females) participated in the study. METHODS: A 30-minute laboratory-based simulated office activity that consisted of data entry, mouse clicking and dragging, and mouse scrolling tasks was performed. Participants wore a custom-made cost effective flexible electrogoniometric glove (FEG) as two experimental conditions were tested; namely, FEG – only, and FEG using a Splint (FEG – Splint). RESULTS: The FEG – only condition produced a higher overall tendon travel compared to the FEG – Splint condition. Both hands presented no statistically significant differences in hand temperature (p > 0.05) and hand volume increments (p > 0.05) with respect to the FEG – only and FEG – Splint office activity experiments. All participants that showed a decrease in hand volumetric measurement produced final temperature measurements lower than initial temperature measurements taken at the commencement of the experiment. Based on participants' perception, the mouse scrolling task was deemed as most strenuous. CONCLUSION: The findings can help to advise patients on biomechanical 'risks' associated with repetitive activities.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: A review of the literature determined that our understanding of the efficacy of flexible work arrangements (FWA) in reducing work-family conflict remains inconclusive. OBJECTIVE: To shed light on this issue by examining the relationship between work-to-family conflict, in which work interferes with family (WFC), family-to-work conflict, in which family interferes with work (FWC), and four work arrangements: the traditional 9-5 schedule, compressed work weeks (CWWs) flextime, and telework. METHODS: Hypotheses were…tested on a sample of 16,145 employees with dependent care responsibilities. MANCOVA analysis was used with work arrangement as the independent variable and work interferes with family (WFC) and family interferes with work (FWC) as dependent variables. Work demands, non-work demands, income, job type and gender were entered into the analysis as covariates. RESULTS: The more flexible work arrangements such as flextime and telework were associated with higher levels of WFC than were fixed 9-to 5 and CWW schedules. Employees who teleworked reported higher FWC than their counterparts working a traditional 9-to-5 schedule particularly when work demands were high. CONCLUSIONS: The removal of both temporal and physical boundaries separating work and family domains results in higher levels of work-family interference in both directions. The results from this study suggest that policy makers and practitioners who are interested in improving employee well-being can reduce work-family conflict, and by extension improve employee mental health, by focusing on the effective use of traditional and CWW schedules rather than by implementing flextime and telework arrangements.
Keywords: Control, demands, human resource management, karasek
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Employees frequently do not engage in help-seeking due to the associated social costs. Despite the importance of help-seeking, little research has been done to explore factors affecting whether individuals will or will not engage in help-seeking at work, and existing research has thus far not addressed help seeking in the telework context. OBJECTIVE: This paper expands the current literature on help-seeking by exploring this behavior in the context of teleworkers and develops propositions…regarding how aspects of virtual work environments will help determine teleworkers' willingness to engage in help-seeking behavior. METHODS: This article presents a review with critical analysis and integration of selected telework and help-seeking literatures. Results: Grounded in the literature on inequity/indebtedness and the literature on threats to self-esteem, theoretically-derived research propositions are developed that help shed insights into help seeking behaviors in the telework context. These research propositions encompass media presence and the teleworker's perceived opportunity for reciprocation, and their associated impacts on the perceived cost of seeking help. CONCLUSION: The proposed research propositions provide practitioners and researchers a means to be better able to assess telework applications and prevent unintended effects. Through such systematic understanding of how telework alters the perceived cost of seeking help and the teleworker's willingness to seek help, telework may be further improved to contribute to more effective and productive individuals and organizations.
Keywords: Telework, help-seeking, telecommuting, virtual work
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Proponents of telework arrangements assert that those who telework have more control over their work and family domains than their counterparts who are not permitted to work from home. OBJECTIVE: Using Karasek's theory we hypothesized that the relationship between demands (hours in work per week; hours in childcare per week) and strain (work role overload; family role overload) would be moderated by the number of hours the employee spent per week teleworking (control). METHODS: To…determine how the number of telework hours relates to work role overload and family role overload, we follow the test for moderation and mediation using hierarchical multiple regression analysis as outlined by Frazier et al.  We used survey data collected from 1,806 male and female professional employees who spent at least one hour per week working from home during regular hours (i.e. teleworking). RESULTS: As hypothesized, the number of hours in telework per week negatively moderated the relation between work demands (total hours in paid employment per week) and work strain (work role overload). Contrary to our hypothesis, the number of hours in telework per week only partially mediated the relation between family demands (hours a week in childcare) and family role overload (strain). CONCLUSIONS: The findings from this study support the idea that the control offered by telework is domain specific (helps employees meet demands at work but not at home).
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Telework has been promoted as a viable workplace accommodation for people with disabilities since the 1990s, when information and communication technologies (ICT) had developed sufficiently to facilitate its widespread adoption. This initial research and accompanying policy recommendations were prescriptive in nature and frequently aimed at employers. OBJECTIVE: This article adds to existing policy models for facilitating successful telework outcomes for people with disabilities. Drawing upon two studies by the…Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Workplace Accommodations, we expound on employee-side considerations in the implementation of telework. METHODS: Our policy model utilizes established typologies for policy evaluation to develop a process model that considers rationales and implementation factors for telework among people with physical disabilities. RESULTS: Telework may be used as an accommodation for disability, but employee rationales for telework are more complex, involving work-life balance, strategies for pain and fatigue not formally recognized as disability, and expediency in travel and transportation. Implementation of telework as a component of workplace operations is similarly multifaceted, involving non-technology accommodations to realize job restructuring left incomplete by telework. CONCLUSIONS: Our model grounds new empirical research in this area. We also renew our call for additional research on effective telework practices for people with disabilities.
Keywords: Employment, workplace accommodation, work environment
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Telework, the use of distance communication technologies to participate in the workforce, has been suggested as a promising employment strategy for individuals with disabilities. OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to obtain a better understanding of the benefits and negative impacts of telework, as well as the supports and challenges to telework activities, for persons who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). METHODS: This study used a series of focus group discussions,…conducted on the internet, to examine the employment experiences of nine individuals with disabilities who used AAC and who held jobs that involved the use of telework. RESULTS: Four major themes emerged from the discussion: (a) benefits of telework, (b) negative impacts of telework, (c) strategies for addressing negative impacts of telework, and (d) recommendations for improving employment outcomes for individuals who use AAC. CONCLUSIONS: In summary, while participants identified the elimination of travel time and flexible work schedules as key strengths of telework, concerns were expressed regarding feelings of isolation and the difficulty in separating home and work environments. The participants also emphasized the important role of educational programs in supporting the acquisition of literacy and self-advocacy skills, and the need for post-secondary programs to support the school-to-workplace transition.
Keywords: Employment, severe disability, cerebral palsy, autism, assistive technology
Abstract: This paper uses a case study to examine attitudinal barriers to employment and underemployment. We follow the career path of PR, a woman with multiple physical impairments, as she seeks financial independence through several employment strategies. In these, she faced attitudinal barriers and employment situations without opportunity for advancement. Eventually, PR opens her own business, turning to an alternative loan program to acquire the funds necessary to purchase a ready-made vehicle that matches her needs for…accessible transportation. Use of this vehicle to provide delivery services for her business has more than doubled her income.
Keywords: Attitudinal barriers, new horizon loan program, disabilities, employment