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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: Apparel exports bring in sizeable foreign income to Sri Lanka. To protect and promote this industry is a paramount need. This can be carried out by applying Human Factors/Ergonomics (HFE) which has proved to control negative effects at work places. OBJECTIVES: This paper reports a case study which describes the demands and benefits of HFE in MAS Holdings which owns a large share of the apparel industry in Sri Lanka. METHODS: The study consisted of walk through observation survey, a questionnaire survey and ergonomic work place analysis followed by a training programme to selected…employees in three companies. RESULTS: Positive responses to questionnaires revealed good ergonomic practices in the work places surveyed. Ergonomically unfit chairs and potential hazards e.g. exposure to noise and hot environment were detected. It is seen that MAS have introduced strategies originated by Toyota Production System viz. 5S, Kaizen, six sigma etc., which are in fact ergonomic methods. A progressive project MAS boast of viz. ‘MAS Operating System’ (MOS) empowers training and development to employees. CONCLUSIONS: MAS Holdings has adequately realized the benefits of applying HFE as evident by the number of awards received. Relevant companies were advised to take appropriate corrective measures to control the potential hazards.
Keywords: Human factors, advantages, needs, garments
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Work-related diseases and occupational accidents affect a significant number of workers globally. The majority of these diseases and accidents are reported from developing countries; and a large percentage of the workforce in developing countries is estimated to be employed in small-scale industries. Sri Lanka is no exception. These workers are exposed to occupational hazards and are at a great risk of developing work- related diseases and injuries. OBJECTIVE: To identify occupational health issues faced by small-scale industry workers in Sri Lanka. METHODS: A cross sectional study was conducted among workers in four selected small-scale…industry categories in two districts of Sri Lanka. A small-scale industry was defined as a work setting with less than 20 workers. Cluster sampling using probability proportionate to size of workers was used. Eighty clusters with a cluster size of eight from each district were selected. Data was collected using a pre-tested interviewer administered questionnaire. RESULTS: Our study surveyed 198 industries. Headache (2.2%, 95% CI 1.5–3.1) and eye problems (2.1%, 95% CI 1.4–2.9) were the commonest general health issues detected. Back pain (4.8%, 95% CI 3.8–6.1) was the most prevalent work-related musculoskeletal pain reported. Knee pain was the second highest (4.4%, 95% CI 3.4–5.6). Most of the work-related musculoskeletal pain was either of short duration or long lasting. CONCLUSIONS: Work-related musculoskeletal pain was much more common than the general health issues reported. Health promotional programs at workplaces focusing ergonomics will benefit the workers at small-scale industries inSri Lanka.
Keywords: Work-related musculoskeletal pain, ergonomics, occupational injuries, workplaces, industrial medicine
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Detecting abnormal machine conditions is of great importance in an autonomous maintenance environment. Ergonomic aspects can be invaluable when detection of machine abnormalities using human senses is examined. OBJECTIVES : This research outlines the ergonomic issues involved in detecting machine abnormalities and suggests how ergonomics would improve such detections. METHODS : Cognitive Task Analysis was performed in a plant in Sri Lanka where Total Productive Maintenance is being implemented to identify sensory types that would be used to detect machine abnormalities and relevant Ergonomic characteristics. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS : As the outcome of this research,…a methodology comprising of an Ergonomic Gap Analysis Matrix for machine abnormality detection is presented.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Non communicable diseases (NCDs) are emerging as a major public health concern worldwide and became a leading cause of mortality in Sri Lanka accounting for 65% of deaths. Health promotion strategies aimed at lifestyle modification are helpful in modifying risk factors for NCDs. OBJECTIVES: To transform a workplace to a health promotion setting where lifestyle changes in workers lead to a modification of risk factors for NCDs. METHODS: A health promotion program was conducted in a divisional administrative office, in Sri Lanka. An office health promotion committee was established and an action plan was…prepared with participation of the workers. An interviewer administrated questionnaire was used to assess risk factors for NCDs. Workers were then screened for NCDs. Behavioral change and communication (BCC) programs were conducted to improve physical activity and dietary modifications. RESULTS: Workers actively participated realizing the ownership of their health. 32 males and 49 females (mean age of 40.8 years) were assessed. Among them, 23.4% were overweight and obese while 26% reported physical inactivity. Among males, 12.5% were smokers. Hypertension and dyslipidaemia were present among 9.9% and 12.3%, respectively. 6.2% had high fasting blood glucose values. The program resulted in identifying 12 new patients with NCDs. After initiating health promotion activities, smoking rate dropped by 75%. Physical inactivity was reduced by 14% and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables increased by 19%. CONCLUSIONS: Programs targeting office settings are a new strategy for reduction of NCDs in Sri Lanka. True benefit of risk factor modification through BCC programs will become apparent in longitudinal assessments.
Keywords: Physical activity, dietary modification, behavior change and communication
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Foot ailments are common among schoolchildren, some of which may be attributed to wearing ill-fitting footwear. As schoolchildren often participate in athletic activity, they are doubly vulnerable to foot ailments, and are particularly vulnerable to conditions such as hallux valgus, Achilles tendonitis, athlete’s foot, corns and calluses. Thus, there is an acute need for the design and manufacture of ergonomic footwear for this target group. While research on appropriate footwear for children has been carried out in relation to child populations in other societies, research on the circumstances of Sri Lankan schoolchildren is lacking. Neither the requisite design…know-how nor the information for design is available to footwear manufacturers. OBJECTIVES: This review of the literature is aimed at confirming the need for ergonomic footwear from the point of view of the effects of wearing ill-fitting shoes and at identifying the requirements in terms of design information, especially for schoolchildren of the age group five to ten years, to empower footwear manufacturers. METHODS: PubMed, Google scholar and Science Direct were used for the literature search. RESULTS: 208 publications were read in full, 94 of which are referenced in this review. CONCLUSION: The review shows morphological measurements, behavior and activity patterns of schoolchildren and environmental conditions they are exposed to should be determined to formulate design information.
Keywords: Biomechanics, foot anatomy, morphology, anatomy of footwear, last design
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) have been identified as a predisposing factor for lesser productivity, but no validated tool has been developed to assess them in the Sri- Lankan context. OBJECTIVE: To develop a validated tool to assess the neck and upper limb MSDs. METHODS: It comprises three components: item selections, item reduction using principal component analysis, and validation. A tentative self-administrated questionnaire was developed, translated, and pre-tested. Four important domains – neck, shoulder, elbow and wrist – were identified through principal component analysis. RESULTS: Prevalence of any MSDs was 38.1% and prevalence of…neck, shoulder, elbow and wrist MSDs are 12.85%, 13.71%, 12%, 13.71% respectively. Content and criterion validity of the tool was assessed. Separate ROC curves were produced and sensitivity and specificity of neck (83.1%, 71.7%), shoulder (97.6%, 91.9%), elbow (98.2%, 87.2%), and wrist (97.6%, 94.9%) was determined. Cronbach’s Alpha and correlation coefficient was above 0.7. CONCLUSION: The tool has high sensitivity, specificity, internal consistency, and test re-test reliability.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Cognitive ergonomics in the work place has become a serious concern with the need to keep people happy at work while maintaining high productivity. Hence, it is worth exploring how the outcomes of lifestyle-based mind development programs can bring about happiness in workplace while keeping productivity and quality of services high. OBJECTIVE: The objective of the present work was to test a body-mind technique to improve cognitive ergonomics in a health care work setting. METHODS: Principal investigator explored many body-mind techniques before selecting the present method of “insight meditation” which he mastered before applying…it on a group of scholars who made it a part of their lifestyle. Later it was introduced to a sample of 500 volunteer health personnel in the western province to generate a ripple effect of happiness at work. RESULTS: Initial qualitative information indicated improvement of some aspects of cognitive ergonomics among those who practiced it. There was a relief from stress during the practice sessions and improvements in the commitment to work and in team spirit. A demand was observed for further training. A quasi-experimental study to test the improvements is underway. CONCLUSIONS: Health workers showed interest in the mind training and potential benefits to individuals and the institutions were observed.
Keywords: Cognitive ergonomics, meditation, ripple effect, mental health, workers’ health
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Mercury is a highly toxic heavy metal used in many medical devices in the healthcare sector, making nurses one of the vulnerable occupational groups. OBJECTIVE: To assess knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding handling mercury containing devices and factors associated with knowledge among nurses in a paediatric hospital in Sri Lanka. METHODS: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted among nurses (n = 538) working in Lady Ridgeway Hospital, Sri Lanka. Information on the use of mercury containing medical devices, accidental exposure, management of spillage and disposal was gathered using a self-administered questionnaire. RESULTS: A…total of 472 nurses responded with a response rate of 87.7%. Of the 347 mercury thermometer users, 67.1% had experienced breakages while among 405 mercury sphygmomanometer users, 20.0% had experienced mercury spillages, during a three months period prior to the study. A majority (56.8%) had ‘good’ overall knowledge regarding mercury and its adverse effects while 94.1% had favorable attitudes towards protecting themselves/others from mercury. Practices related to managing a mercury spill were poor. Work experience >10 years (p = 0.032) and favorable attitude (p = 0.007) were associated with good knowledge while having a training on managing a mercury spillage was not (p = 0.850). CONCLUSIONS: Gaps in practices on managing a mercury spillage were evident. Current training programmes were not found to be effective.
Keywords: Heavy metals, healthcare waste, occupational health