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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: Anthropometric data are assumed to have a Gaussian (Normal) distribution, but if non-Gaussian, accommodation estimates are affected. When data are limited, users may choose to combine anthropometric elements by Combining Percentiles (CP) (adding or subtracting), despite known adverse effects. OBJECTIVE: This study examined whether global anthropometric data are Gaussian distributed. It compared the Median Correlation Method (MCM) of combining anthropometric elements with unknown correlations to CP to determine if MCM provides better estimates of percentile values and accommodation. METHOD: Percentile values of 604 male and female anthropometric data drawn from seven countries worldwide…were expressed as standard scores. The standard scores were tested to determine if they were consistent with a Gaussian distribution. Empirical multipliers for determining percentile values were developed. In a test case, five anthropometric elements descriptive of seating were combined in addition and subtraction models. Percentile values were estimated for each model by CP, MCM with Gaussian distributed data, or MCM with empirically distributed data. RESULTS: The 5th and 95th percentile values of a dataset of global anthropometric data are shown to be asymmetrically distributed. MCM with empirical multipliers gave more accurate estimates of 5th and 95th percentiles values. CONCLUSIONS: Anthropometric data are not Gaussian distributed. The MCM method is more accurate than adding or subtracting percentiles.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Within the context of evaluating individuals' movement behavior it is generally assumed that the tasks chosen will predict their competency to perform activities relevant to their occupation. OBJECTIVE: This study sought to examine whether a battery of general tasks could be used to predict the movement patterns employed by firefighters to perform select job-specific skills. METHODS: Fifty-two firefighters performed a battery of general and occupation-specific tasks that simulated the demands of firefighting. Participants' peak lumbar spine and frontal plane knee motion were compared across tasks. RESULTS: During 85% of all comparisons,…the magnitude of spine and knee motion was greater during the general movement tasks than observed during the firefighting skills. Certain features of a worker's movement behavior may be exhibited across a range of tasks. Therefore, provided that a movement screen's tasks expose the motions of relevance for the population being tested, general evaluations could offer valuable insight into workers' movement competency or facilitate an opportunity to establish an evidence-informed intervention.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Few studies have investigated mathematical characteristics of the discomfort-time relationship during prolonged static posture holding (SPH) on an individual basis. Consequently, the discomfort-time relationship is not clearly understood at individual trial level. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to examine discomfort-time sequence data obtained from a large number of maximum-duration SPH trials to understand the perceived discomfort-posture holding time relationship at the individual SPH trial level. METHOD: Thirty subjects (15 male, 15 female) participated in this study as paid volunteers. The subjects performed maximum-duration SPH trials employing 12 different wholebody static postures.…The hand-held load for all the task trials was a ``generic'' box weighing 2 kg. Three mathematical functions, that is, linear, logarithmic and power functions were examined as possible mathematical models for representing individual discomfort-time profiles of SPH trials. RESULTS: Three different time increase patterns (negatively accelerated, linear and positively accelerated) were observed in the discomfort-time sequences data. The power function model with an additive constant term was found to adequately fit most (96.4%) of the observed discomfort-time sequences, and thus, was recommended as a general mathematical representation of the perceived discomfort-posture holding time relationship in SPH. CONCLUSION: The new knowledge on the nature of the discomfort-time relationship in SPH and the power function representation found in this study will facilitate analyzing discomfort-time data of SPH and developing future posture analysis tools for work-related discomfort control.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The call centre industry has developed a reputation for generating a highly stressful work environment with high absenteeism and turnover rates. Research has identified role ambiguity, role conflict, role overload, and work-family conflict as common stressors in other settings. Call centre research has additionally identified performance monitoring, job design and job opportunities as call centre specific stressors. OBJECTIVE AND METHODS: This study investigated the impact of the identified stressors on burnout, somatic symptomology, and turnover intent among 126 call centre representatives (CCRs) from 11 call centres in metropolitan Melbourne, Australia. RESULTS: Hierarchical multiple…regression analyses found that the common organizational stressors significantly explained between 10% and 53% of the variance in somatic symptomology, burnout (all 3 dimensions) and turnover intent. An additional amount of variance, between 6% and 22% in each of these dependent measures was significantly accounted for by the grouped call centre specific stressors. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, common organizational stressors and call centre specific stressors both significantly and independently contributed to burnout, somatic symptomology and turnover intent. These findings are discussed in relation to previous research, and suggestions for improved practice within call centres to safeguard the well-being of workers and for future research are provided.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Vitality at work is an important factor for optimal functioning and sustainable employability. To date, knowledge on how to promote vitality at work is fragmented. OBJECTIVE: Contribute to knowledge on how to promote vitality at work. METHODS: Determinants of vitality at work are identified from three scientific fields, and used in a comprehensive model. Regression analyses on cross-sectional data from a Dutch dairy company (N= 629) are performed to examine the associations between these factors, vitality at work, and employees' perceived effective personal functioning and sustainable employability. RESULTS: Vitality at…work is most strongly associated with basic psychological needs of self-determination, but also with healthy lifestyle behavior, having a balanced workstyle, and social capital. Vitality at work is also associated with effective personal functioning and with sustainable employability. CONCLUSIONS: The study confirms the multifactorial nature of vitality at work. Since organizational culture may support self-determination, and cultural aspects themselves are positively associated with vitality, organizational culture seems particular important in promoting vitality at work. Additionally, a healthy lifestyle appears important. The associations between vitality at work and effective personal functioning and sustainable employability endorse the combined health-based, business-related and societal importance of vitality at work.
Keywords: Basic psychological needs, social capital, balanced work style
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Lean Production Systems (LPS) have become very popular among manufacturing industries, services and large commercial areas. A LPS must develop and consider a set of work features to bring compatibility with workplace ergonomics, namely at a muscular, cognitive and emotional demands level. OBJECTIVE: Identify the most relevant impacts of the adoption of LPS from the ergonomics point of view and summarizes some possible drawbacks for workplace ergonomics due to a flawed application of the LPS. The impacts identified are focused in four dimensions: work pace, intensity and load; worker motivation, satisfaction and stress; autonomy and…participation; and health outcome. This paper also discusses the influence that the work organization model has on workplace ergonomics and on the waste elimination previewed by LPS. METHODS: Literature review focused LPS and its impact on occupational ergonomics conditions, as well as on the Health and Safety of workers. The main focus of this research is on LPS implementations in industrial environments and mainly in manufacturing industry workplaces. This is followed by a discussion including the authors' experience (and previous research). RESULTS: From the reviewed literature it seems that there is no consensus on how Lean principles affect the workplace ergonomics since most authors found positive (advantages) and negative (disadvantages) impacts. CONCLUSIONS: The negative impacts or disadvantages of LPS implementations reviewed may result from the misunderstanding of the Lean principles. Possibly, they also happen due to partial Lean implementations (when only one or two tools were implemented) that may be effective in a specific work context but not suitable to all possible situations as the principles of LPS should not lead, by definition, to any of the reported drawbacks in terms of workplace ergonomics.
Keywords: Lean production, ergonomics, literature review, work organization models
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Although it also portrays a loss of function in psychology, in this context the term anomia (from the Greek, an- : absence, and -nomos : law) is used to describe a sociological phenomenon that can lead individuals to misbehave due to feelings of valuelessness and cynicism resulting from a lack of integration in social life (Srole, 1956). OBJECTIVE: Previous research has neglected anomia as part of the origin of employee work absence. This study tests the association between anomia and absence - operationalized as propensity to abusive absence due to illness. A large…variety of job attitudes grouped in terms of organizational climate are controlled for. METHODS: Data were collected from 84 of the 198 (42.4%) employees of a provincial Spanish Social Security Service. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to test the associations. RESULTS: With the climate factors controlled for by entering them together with anomia in a SEM model as causes of absence, the results show a significant relationship between anomia and absence. CONCLUSIONS: The findings explain the origin of absence at work and management strategies. The very nature of anomia suggests that strategies can be designed to provide employees with an organizational `micro-cosmos' that promotes support, predictability, and bonds of trust to create an effective bulwark against absenteeism.
Abstract: Prolonged sedentary time (ST) is associated with adverse health outcomes, while decreasing ST improves health outcomes. The use of sit-stand desks (SSDs) in workplaces has been proposed as a means of reducing ST. The purpose of this study was to gain knowledge about participants' experience and perceptions of a workplace intervention involving the introduction of SSDs. Focus groups and interviews were conducted with 28 study participants who used SSDs for 4 weeks. Data were analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Participants reported a high level of satisfaction with the SSDs and 96% chose to use them permanently. Participants experienced greater…energy and alertness at work and reported increased face-to-face interaction with coworkers. Lack of work-surface space was the most significant problem with the use of SSDs. There was no perception of decreased productivity or reduced workplace privacy among participants.
Keywords: Sedentary time, work place intervention individual interview, focus group
Abstract: BACKGROUND: For people with mental illness (psychiatric survivors), seeking and securing employment involves personal, social, and environmental factors. In Canada, psychiatric survivors are under-represented in the workforce, and services can help by tailoring their supports to help make the most gains in employment. OBJECTIVE: Determine whether individual socio-demographic and health factors predict seeking and securing employment among psychiatric survivors. METHODS: A community sample of psychiatric survivors from a Southwestern Ontario region participated in this study. Stepwise logistic regression was used to analyze data from 363 participants who had completed a variety of questionnaires to…ascertain individual characteristics and employment outcomes. RESULTS: Health service utilization, living circumstances, homelessness, substance use issues, general health, social integration, ethnicity, having children under 18, and being a student emerged as significant predictors of seeking and securing work. Other commonly accepted human capital indicators, such as education and age, were not predictive of employment search behavior and outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: Individual characteristics that predict employment search and success outcomes for psychiatric survivors include aspects related to treatment and living circumstances, which stands in contrast to predictors of employment for the general population, suggesting that employment support services may need to be tailored to psychiatric survivors specifically.
Keywords: Employment, psychiatric survivors, Ontario, labour market, employment outcomes