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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: Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) can lead to potential adverse consequences for individuals and their organizations, and in various research, its relationship to physical and mental health of workforce has been studied. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of MSDs of upper extremities among office workers and its association with mental health status. METHODS: In this cross sectional study, 1488 out of 1630 office workers completed the Standardized Nordic Musculoskeletal Disorders Ques-tionnaire and General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28) (response rate = 91.3%). RESULTS: Upper extremity MSDs were reported in 410 (27.5%) office…workers, including 269 (18.1%) shoulder, 79 (5.3%) elbow and 207 (13.9%) hand/wrist symptoms. Based on GHQ-28, 254 (17.1%) participants were found to be at risk of developing a psychiatric disorder that were observed in 26.7% of workers with MSDs symptoms. Shoulder (p < 0.001), elbow (p < 0.001) and hand/wrist (p < 0.001) MSDs were associated with poor mental health. Among the four GHQ-28 subscales (somatic symptoms, anxiety/insomnia, social dysfunction, and depression), anxiety/insomnia was strongly correlated with shoulders (P < 0.001), elbows (P = 0.002), and hands/wrists (P < 0.001) symptoms. CONCLUSION: Office workers with upper extremity MSDs were more likely to be experiencing mental distress. This indicates a need for greater emphasis on preventive programs at workplace to support their psychological well-being.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Exposure to compounds used in ceramic industries appears to be associated with induction of oxidative toxic stress. Objective: This cross sectional study was undertaken to assess the oxidative toxic stress parameters associated with occupational exposure to ceramic dust. METHODS: Forty ceramic-exposed workers from a ceramic manufacturing industry and 40 unexposed referent subjects were studied. A questionnaire containing information regarding demographic variables, occupational history, history of any chronic disease, antioxidant consumption, and use of therapeutic drugs was administrated to them. Oxidative toxic stress biomarkers including lipid peroxidation (LPO), total antioxidant power (TAP), levels of total Thiol groups…(TTG) and catalase (CAT) activity were measured. RESULTS: Significant increments in blood LPO levels, CAT activity and concomitant lower TAP were observed in ceramic exposed workers in comparison to referent group. No statistically significant difference was noted between the means of TTG levels between the groups. CONCLUSIONS: Findings of the study indicate that occupational exposure to ceramic dust induces oxidative toxic stress. Supplementation of workers with antioxidants may have beneficial effects on oxidative damages in ceramic industries.
Keywords: Workers, total antioxidant power, oxidative stress
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Day centers have been criticized for giving attendees a lower social status because they only offer activities that are often work-like although not financially of benefit to attendees. OBJECTIVES: To explore day center attendees’ perceived social status and to identify associations among the attendees with the center’s orientation with activity, well-being, and psychiatric symptoms. METHOD: Day center attendees in meeting place-oriented (n = 39) and work-oriented (n = 54) day centers in Sweden were interviewed addressing the targeted factors using both self-rated and interview-based instruments. RESULT: Attendees rated themselves close to the middle on…the social status measure. No difference between groups based on day center orientation was found. Their self-perceived positioning on social status was positively related to the worker role, occupational engagement, self-rated health, self-esteem, self-mastery, and depressive symptoms. Logistic regression models showed better self-rated health was the only predictor of belonging to the group with a higher level of social status when dichotomized according to the median. Self-rated health was the strongest indicator for scoring above the 75th percentile on perceived status, followed by self-esteem, which was also a significant indicator. CONCLUSION: These findings yielded new knowledge concerning perceived social status in the target group and the importance of health and self-esteem.
Keywords: Health, occupational engagement, occupational therapy, community mental health, social capital
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Following brief training, an Australian workplace Return to Work (RTW) Coordinator is expected to provide information to the injured worker, liaise with key stakeholders and maintain workplace policies and procedures in accordance with legislative requirements. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to provide insights into the experiences and perceptions of the Australian Workplace RTW Coordinator in relation to current training practices and to identify any existing inadequacies within the available training. METHOD: Twenty-five workplace RTW Coordinators from five Australian states participated in six focus groups.Participants with a minimum of two years’ experience as…a workplace RTW Coordinator and involved with the development and implementation of workplace policies and procedures, were included in the study. Thematic analysis was performed to identity meaningful themes and patterns. RESULTS: The findings highlighted specific training requirements and additional support mechanisms recommended by current workplace RTW Coordinators. Four key themes clearly emerged: inadequate training; irrelevant content; the need for specialised trainers; and network support services. CONCLUSION: RTW Coordinators require effective training and support to ensure the appropriate and timely delivery of services to all stakeholders involved in the RTW process. The results of this study may inform future training practices for RTW Coordinators.
Keywords: Workplace disability management, rehabilitation, qualitative research
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Immigrant workers who are new to Canada are considered a vulnerable population under the Ontario Ministry of Labour Prevention Strategy for workplace safety. Posters outlining workplace safety rights and responsibilities may not be understandable to new immigrants. OBJECTIVE: To explore visual approaches to making health and safety messages more understandable to new immigrants. METHODS: This pilot study used arts-based qualitative research methods. Key messages from the Ministry of Labour Health & Safety at Work poster were (re)represented as images by an artist. Recent immigrants engaged in individual interviews and then took part in a…focus group, in order to elicit their experiences of health and safety practices, their understanding and feedback concerning the Ministry poster, and the images created. RESULTS: An image-rich version of the poster was developed. The combination of drawings and minimal text was preferred and considered helpful by participants. Barriers to health and safety and work challenges for new immigrants were highlighted. Visual analysis yielded new versions of the poster, as well as a pictorial representation of the research process and study findings. CONCLUSIONS: The study demonstrates the value of using image-rich posters with immigrant workers, and the effectiveness of using arts-based methods within the research process.
Keywords: Qualitative research, arts-based research methods, occupational health and safety, immigrant workers
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Sheltered Employment Centres are a key component of policies promoting the employment of people with disabilities in Spain. The firms involved form a sort of ‘protected’ labour market for people with disabilities. Their purpose is to provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities who have difficulties entering the ‘ordinary’ labour market. OBJECTIVE: The aim in this article is to analyse whether workers with disabilities enjoy greater stability in sheltered employment centres than in ordinary firms. METHODS: Using data from the Longitudinal Sample of Working Lives, which includes information about the labour market trajectory of…Spanish workers, survival models are employed to analyse the duration of employment periods of workers with disabilities. Workers in sheltered employment centres are compared to workers in ordinary firms. RESULTS: Results confirm that employment in SECs is more stable than in ordinary firms, even after controlling for the effects of other variables such as sex, age, level of qualifications and characteristics of the firms. CONCLUSIONS: Employment in SEC provides to workers with disability a more stable career path with lower turnover than working in ordinary firms. More research is needed to consider other working conditions such as wages and promotion possibilities.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Prolonged sitting, such as when computing, has been linked to adolescent spinal pain. A chair should fit the user’s body dimensions and aid the user in frequently changing sitting posture, rather than support one ‘ideal’ posture. Such a chair is not currently available to high school learners. OBJECTIVES: To develop a novel experimental school chair. To determine whether the experimental chair encourages regular small range movement in all directions whilst students work at computers in class. To compare the number of postural changes between the normal static school chair and the experimental chair, whilst students do…computing work. METHODS: A development and validation study was conducted. Twelve high school students were randomly selected from a conveniently selected school. Fifteen minutes of 3D posture measurements were collected in both the prototype and school computer chair. The analysis focused on the frequency of postural movement. RESULTS: Data of eleven learners were analysed. There were statistically significant increases in the number of postural changes on the ‘Experimental’ chair compared to the school chair, for both pelvic side-flexion and pelvic rotation (ρ = 0.01). CONCLUSION: The experimental chair provided more postural movements when compared to the school computer chair. Future studies should use this experimental chair to determine the effect of increased postural movement, of especially the pelvis, on the prevalence and intensity of musculoskeletal symptoms of high school learners in the Cape Metropole area, Western Cape, South Africa.
Keywords: High school, sitting biomechanics, sitting posture, movement, experimental chair
Abstract: BACKGROUND: From a public health perspective among the working population, it is very important that confidence in the welfare system is high, ensuring the citizens economic security and protecting them from economic stress when falling ill. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to explore how people with experience of health insurance perceive their confidence in the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (SSIA). METHODS: Eight focus groups (n = 41) were conducted and each group met on one occasion. RESULTS: The participants described a systemic change in the work of the SSIA where the rule-of-law…was disregarded, with arbitrary assessment, and no transparency. The reception by the SSIA shaped the image of the SSIA. The participants described vulnerability in relation to the SSIA. They felt mistrusted, which left a feeling of impotence that worsened their health. Experiencing vulnerability left a strong impression and affected the participants’ confidence negatively. CONCLUSIONS: The following has to be acknowledged to prevent clients from experiencing impaired health, promote return-to-work possibilities, and to push public confidence in the institution in a more positive direction: Politicians and public administrators need to clarify the regulations. The decision-making process needs to be transparent and just. The entire procedure, including continuity as well as a personal, nice reception, has to be ensured.
Keywords: Public health, sick-leave, procedural justice, welfare institutions
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Occupational well-being in health care is essential for the quality of care and productivity. Some of the major challenges facing hospital nurses are the personnel turnover, emotional loading and health care reforms. After primary occupational safety and risk management, complementary positive health promotion approaches with cultural interventions can be experimented. OBJECTIVE: To examine the association between well-being indicators of hospital nurses and their participation in cultural events provided by the employer (theater, concerts, exhibitions, museums, sight-seeing, and musicals) during past 6 months. METHODS: Subjective well-being was measured by work engagement, workplace support for new…ideas, work satisfaction and experienced stress. RESULTS: A dose-dependent association was found between participation in cultural events and positive psychology parameters of occupational well-being (support for new ideas and work engagement), but the experience of stress was unrelated to participation in cultural events. Collective participation has a positive covariant effect on work engagement and seems to mediate the innovative work climate measured by workplace support for new ideas. CONCLUSIONS: Collective cultural events for employees may promote positive aspects of occupational wellbeing.
Keywords: Art, health promotion, prevention, stress, work engagement