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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: The increase in life expectancy of elderly population has aroused the interest of different knowledge areas in understanding the variables that are involved in the aging process, linking them to other concepts such as active aging, healthy aging and the bio-psycho-social changes. OBJECTIVE: This paper presents the results of the first controlled, experimental pilot study that aimed to analyze the relationship between the perception of back pain and the sleeping position adopted by physically active female seniors. METHODS: Twenty female seniors (mean age 62.70±3.827) participated in this study. The individuals were separated in 2 groups…(Experimental and Control Group). For the carrying out of this study, the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) was used to measure the intensity of back pain in the spine before and after four consecutive weeks an Intervention program. Individuals in the Experimental Group were instructed regarding the recommended way to sleep position (Intervention program) according to the pathological problems or the amount of pain reported. RESULTS: The Experimental Group (N = 10) presented significantly (p = 0.009) fewer complaints of back pain after an Intervention program in comparison to individuals who did not receive this type of information (Control Group).
Keywords: Back pain, recommended sleeping position, Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), active aging
Abstract: BACKGROUND: With the development of science and technology, smartphones have been deeply involved in people’s everyday lives, and many perform various tasks simultaneously on smartphones. OBJECTIVE: To investigate gait pattern changes on performing multitask simultaneously when using smartphones. METHODS: Three tasks were performed by 26 healthy adults. In the first, participants were directed to walk without using smartphones (single-task). In the second, they were required to walk while finding applications (dual-task). Lastly, in addition to performing the second task, they were asked to listen to questions and answer them on their smartphone (triple-task). Spatiotemporal variables of…gait and degree of lateral deviation during walking were measured. RESULTS: The results showed that there was a significant difference between the single-task and dual tasks, as well as between the single task and triple task in all variables (p < 0.05). In particular, gait velocity decreased by 33.49% in the dual task and 41.69% in the triple task compared to the single-task, the degree of deviation increased by 119.18% in the dual task and 122.67% in the triple task in comparison to the single-task. CONCLUSIONS: It was determined that changes in gait, appear when walk while using smartphones in comparison to walking without using smartphones.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: From an employee-perspective, temporary agency employment can be considered in two ways. According to the first perspective, agency jobs are associated with job characteristics that adversely affect mental well-being: job insecurity, low wages, a lack of benefits, little training, poorer prospects for the future, high working time flexibility, minimal trade union representation and problematic triadic employment relations. The other perspective underlines that flexibility, learning opportunities and freedom in agency employment enable workers to build the career of their choice, which may positively affect mental well-being. OBJECTIVE: This article aims at interpreting and explaining these conflicting perspectives. In…particular, we discuss the role of coping resources (control, support, trust and equity) in the stress pathway between characteristics of temporary agency employment and mental well-being. METHODS: Semi-structured interviews with 12 Belgian temporary agency workers were conducted and analysed from a phenomenological perspective. RESULTS: The results reveal mainly how a lack of coping resources plays a key role in how (precarious) characteristics of temporary agency employment affect employees’ mental well-being. CONCLUSIONS: This study illustrates the earlier assumed stress pathway between precarious employment and mental well-being, in which coping resources play an intermediary as well as a moderating role.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Polymyositis (PM) and dermatomyositis (DM) are rare, chronic inflammatory diseases leading to muscle weakness and low muscle endurance. The muscle weakness may lead to restrictions in daily activities and low health-related quality of life. OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to investigate the work situation, work ability, work-related risk factors, and influence of the physical and psycho-social work environment in patients with PM and DM. METHODS: Patients with PM/DM were assessed using the Work Ability Index (WAI), and the Work Environment Impact Scale (WEIS). RESULTS: Forty-eight patients (PM n = 25 and DM n = 23) participated…(women/men: 29/19) with a mean age of 54 years (range 28–67 years, SD.10) and mean disease duration of nine years (SD.9). Forty-four percent worked full-time, 31% part-time and 25% were on full-time sick leave. More than 50% self-rated work ability as “poor” or “less good”. Physically strenuous work components were present “quite to very often” in 23–79% and more in patients on sick leave ≥2 years. For those working, the interfering factors in the work environment concerned task and time demands. Supporting factors concerned meaning of work, interactions with co-workers and others. Self-rated work ability correlated moderately–highly positive with percentage of full-time employment, work-related risk factors and opportunities and constraints in the work environment. CONCLUSIONS: Poor self-rated work ability is common in patients with PM/DM indicating a need to identify interfering risk factors and support patients to enhance work performance.
Keywords: Work Ability Index (WAI), Work Environment Impact Scale (WEIS), work-related risk factors, vocational rehabilitation, occupational therapy
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Data on the physical strength capabilities of users are essential for designing the safe and usable products. OBJECTIVE: The aims of this study were to characterise the wrist ulnar/radial (U/R) torque strength and individual strength differences among Iranian population. METHODS: The study was conducted among 769 (391 males, 378 females) participants aged 5–74 years in the northwest of Iran. Measurements were carried out with both dominant and non-dominant hands using a digital angle torque adaptor installed in a jar-shaped measuring unit. RESULTS: The results indicated that the mean wrist U/R torque strength exertion…by females was 75% of that exerted by males. Strength exertion with the non-dominant hand was 8% lower than strength exertion of the dominant hand. A significant positive association was also found between the wrist U/R torque strength and body mass index. CONCLUSIONS: This additional information on the wrist torque strength can fill the gap in the strength data for Iranian population, or used by health and safety practitioners in the field.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Many people experience some form of mild mental illness, chronic pain and fatigue feelings that lead to long-term absences from the workplace. OBJECTIVE: The article examines narrations about developmental experiences and adult life of people in need of back to work rehabilitation. METHODS: Narrative interviews were analyzed within a qualitative content analyses design. The sample was purposive, with 16 working-age adults at rehabilitation because of mild mental illnesses, chronic pain, and fatigue feelings. Ethical approval, was obtained from The Regional Committee for Medical Research Ethics, Health Region Central Norway. Reference no.: 2010/1323. RESULTS:…There were stories about more or less stressful childhoods. In adult life, there were turns at various ages from meaningful work engagement, to struggle in private life from long lasting strain, stressful family situations or crises. CONCLUSIONS: Illness may develop when experiencing crises or strain over time in private situations, this in combination with expectations and requirements in working life. Not only working environments, but also the private situations, life history events, and self-esteem of individuals, should be taken into consideration in the rehabilitation program. There is a need of research on working life that support the employee’s positive self-image, and on effective rehabilitation when needed.
Keywords: Mental health, chronic pain, work absence, life history, narrative
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Workers’ exposure to excessive heat in molten industries is mainly due to radiant heat from hot sources. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of radiant heat controls on workers heat stress around a typical blast furnace. METHODS: Two main interventions were applied for reducing radiant heat around the blast furnace of a steel industry located in western Iran. These included using a heat absorbing system in the furnace body and installing reflective aluminum barrier in the main workstation. Heat stress indexes were measured before and after each intervention using the…digital WBGT-meter. RESULTS: The results showed MRT and WBGT indexes decreased by 20°C and 3.9°C, respectively after using heat absorbing system and also decreased by 18.6°C and 2.5°C, respectively after installing a reflective barrier. These indexes decrease by 26.5°C and 5.2°C, respectively due to the simultaneous application of the two interventions which were statistically significant (p < 0.001). The core body temperature of workers decreased by 2.6 °C after the application of interventions which was also significant (p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: The results confirmed heat control at source can be considered as a first solution for reducing radiant heat of blast furnaces. However, the simultaneous application of interventions could noticeably reduce worker heat stress. The results provide reliable information in order to implement the effective heat controls in typical hot steel industries.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Employees commonly report feeling stressed at work. OBJECTIVE: Examine how employees cope with work and personal stress, whether their coping strategies are adaptive (protective to health) or maladaptive (detrimental to health), and if the manner in which employees cope with stress influences perceived stress management. METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, a random sample of 2,500 full-time university non-student employees (i.e. faculty, salaried professionals, and hourly non-professionals) were surveyed on health related behaviors including stress and coping. Approximately 1,277 completed the survey (51% ). Hierarchical logistic regression was used to assess the ability of adaptive and…maladaptive coping strategies to predict self-reported stress management, while controlling for multiple demographic variables. RESULTS: Over half of employees surveyed reported effective stress management. Most frequently used adaptive coping strategies were communication with friend/family member and exercise, while most frequently used maladaptive coping strategies were drinking alcohol and eating more than usual. Both adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies made significant (p < 0.05) contributions to predicting employee’s perceived stress management. Only adaptive coping strategies (B = 0.265) predicted whether someone would self-identify as effectively managing stress. Use of maladaptive coping strategies decreased likelihood of self-reporting effective stress management. CONCLUSIONS: Actual coping strategies employed may influence employees’ perceived stress management. Adaptive coping strategies may be more influential than maladaptive coping strategies on perceived stress management. Results illustrate themes for effective workplace stress management programs. Stress management programs focused on increasing use of adaptive coping may have a greater impact on employee stress management than those focused on decreasing use of maladaptive coping. Coping is not only a reaction to stressful experiences but also a consequence of coping resources. Thereby increasing the availability of resources in the workplace to facilitate the use of adaptive coping strategies is necessary for successful stress management and, ultimately, healthier employees.
Keywords: Coping behavior, health promotion, employee health, stress management
Abstract: BACKGROUND: While meatpacking is a physically demanding industry, the effect of depression on risks for injury has not been studied. OBJECTIVE: To assess depressive disorders (major depression and dysthymia) using a validated screening tool administered to injured and uninjured meatpacking workers in two Midwestern plants. METHODS: Matched case-control analyses were conducted among 134 workers to evaluate the association between depressive disorder and the occurrence of laceration injury. RESULTS: Of the 268 workers, 13.8% screened positive for depressive disorder, whereas the general population prevalence estimate for depressive disorder using the same tool was 3.4% .…Depressive disorder was not associated with an increased risk for injury; 17% of cases who experienced a laceration injury and 15% of uninjured controls reported depressive disorder (OR 0.81, 95% CI: 0.39–1.69). CONCLUSIONS: Evaluation of depression causes among meatpacking workers is needed to elucidate prevention and treatment strategies.