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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: Sustainable development requires learning, but the contents of learning are often complex and ambiguous. This requires new integrated approaches from research. It is argued that investigation of people’s learning challenges in every-day work is beneficial for research on sustainable development. OBJECTIVE: The aim of the paper is to describe a research method for examining learning challenges in promoting sustainable development. This method is illustrated with a case example from organic vegetable farming in Finland. METHODS: The method, based on Activity Theory, combines historical analysis with qualitative analysis of need expressions in discourse data.…RESULTS: The method linking local and subjective need expressions with general historical analysis is a promising way to overcome the gap between the individual and society, so much needed in research for sustainable development. CONCLUSIONS: Dialectically informed historical frameworks have practical value as tools in collaborative negotiations and participatory designs for sustainable development. The simultaneous use of systemic and subjective perspectives allows researchers to manage the complexity of practical work activities and to avoid too simplistic presumptions about sustainable development.
Keywords: Organic vegetable farming, activity theory, contradictions, need expressions
Abstract: BACKGROUND: While farming in France and generally in Europe is continuing to intensify, at the expense of its environmental sustainability, promising alternatives are emerging. OBJECTIVE: The processes whereby farmers change and transform their own work, to shift from an intensive mode of production to a self-sufficient and autonomous one, need to be formalized if we are to further our understanding of why and how these forms of sustainable farming activity emerge. METHODS: We use the development of professional worlds theory, a systemic representation of workers’ activity, whereby their experience is formalized. This can be explained as…the praxis1 , conceptual and axiological underpinnings form a system with the object of the action. The development of a professional world is analyzed according to the evolution of its components and the search for pragmatic coherence within it. We analyzed professional transitions towards self-sufficient and autonomous mixed farming through a case study. RESULTS: Our findings showed that the transition is initiated by the discovery of the unthinkable, awareness of a discrepancy between what the farmers think and what they do, the appearance of problems, and the response to external constraints. Professional transition is a non-teleological and non-incremental process; it corresponds to a comparison with reality, and a resolution of difficulties. This process is stimulated by the use of artifacts instrumented by the farmers. CONCLUSION: New perspectives are opened up by this formalization of transitions, in terms of (i ) support towards sustainable farming and (ii) the design of sustainable farming systems.
Keywords: Professional transition, design, self-sufficiency, autonomy, mixed farming
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The sustainability of the workforce is threatened due to working conditions. One of the reasons for this is an imbalance between the working conditions and the capacity of the workers. OBJECTIVE: The objective of the paper, based on a literature review, is to explore the relationship between two main concepts, beginning with sustainability, and finished with ergonomics. Based on that relationship, determine if ergonomics could be helpful to improve the sustainability of the workforce. METHODS: Literature review was based on two keywords: sustainability and ergonomics. The focus was on create a theoretical path between these…two concepts. The literature review draws on 100 journal articles, books, conference proceedings, thesis and reports. RESULTS: The results of the literature review highlights that an ergonomics approach is helpful and appropriate to determine the mismatch between people capacity and system demand. In that sense, the literature review reveals that both disciplines, ergonomics and sustainability, share the same principles and that the mix of both has significant potential. However, the literature also shows a lack of empirical information that proves that potential. CONCLUSION: The review first posits that sustainability principles could be helpful to improve the working conditions, and second, that an ergonomics approach provides information related with working conditions, organizations’ problems and the needs of workers that would be helpful to create a sustainability workforce.
Keywords: Sustainability, workforce sustainability, occupational health problems, working conditions and ergonomics
Abstract: BACKGROUND: This research was conducted in the Brazilian granite mining sector. After epidemiological studies, it was established that professional pneumoconiosis is related to the inhalation of dust. Therefore, the Brazilian mining health and safety regulatory standard made it compulsory to provide humidification throughout the extraction and mineral treatment processes. OBJECTIVE: To develop the concept of systemic appropriation of the technological innovations that aim to protect the worker’s health. Until now, appropriation has usually been presented in its individual dimensions. In this article, the focus is placed on the collective and organizational aspects of this appropriation. METHODS:…Two methodological approaches were used: interviews with the different individuals involved in order to report the history of the implementation of technical devices which meet the humidification norm; and ergonomic analysis of the work of the operators who used these devices. RESULTS: The appropriation of the technical devices occurred at two distinct levels: 1) Individual, related to the direct contact of the operator with the instrument; 2) Systemic, as the effects of the innovation propagated through the system affecting interdependent tasks, adaptation of the work organization and new production strategies. CONCLUSIONS: The implementation of prevention norms require innovations which are necessarily accompanied by transformations in the companies’ techniques, work and management.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Alternatives are being developed for waste treatment all over the world. Solidary selective collection is a recognized social technology for taking millions of people out of absolute poverty. However, this technology raises crucial questions regarding its nature and development perspective. What can be said of the legitimacy of a social technology that is born from misery and maintains wastepickers in precarious work conditions? OBJECTIVE: This article approaches issues based on the analysis of the wastepickers’ work process, highlighting the difficulties and interpersonal conflicts, the strong social bonds and creativity that reveal the potential of efficiency and solidarity…of this social technology. METHODS: The analyses are founded on empirical descriptions of work situations and organizational arrangements that the wastepickers themselves have developed. The observations were made during the work, followed by interviews focused on significant events and behaviors. RESULTS: The contradiction between efficiency and solidarity, which excludes workers from the formal labor market, finds in the associations a solution for people with different capacities. This social technology offers much more than simple survival or exoticism. The wastepickers create a sustainable mode of production, putting together economic, social and environmental criteria in an innovative and fair production technology.
Keywords: Waste management, sorting, social economy, social technology, reverse hierarchy
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Integrating work activity issues into design process is a broadly discussed theme in ergonomics. Participation is presented as the main means for such integration. However, a late participation can limit the development of both project solutions and future work activity. OBJECTIVE: This article presents the concept of construction of experience aiming at the articulated development of future activities and project solutions. It is a non-teleological approach where the initial concepts will be transformed by the experience built up throughout the design process. METHODS: The method applied was a case study of an ergonomic participation during…the design of a new laboratory complex for biotechnology research. Data was obtained through analysis of records in a simulation process using a Lego scale model and interviews with project participants. RESULTS: The simulation process allowed for developing new ways of working and generating changes in the initial design solutions, which enable workers to adopt their own developed strategies for conducting work more safely and efficiently in the future work system. CONCLUSIONS: Each project decision either opens or closes a window of opportunities for developing a future activity. Construction of experience in a non-teleological design process allows for understanding the consequences of project solutions for future work.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Accidents in the construction sector are a cause for concern. The influence of many different factors in construction accidents have been studied (age, company size, length of service, deviation, drugs or alcohol consumption, etc.) but the influence of medicinal substances in specific construction activities has not been evaluated until now. OBJECTIVE: The aim of the research presented here is to identify the effect of different medicinal substances on the occupational risk levels of construction activities with formworks. METHODS: An expert panel was selected in order to quantify the individual risk of each medication for each…individual construction activity. RESULTS: Results showed that narcotics, antipsychotics, and hypnotics had the highest risk values, and the use of cranes and cutting materials were considered the most dangerous activities for a medicated worker. CONCLUSIONS: Data obtained in this research can help reduce the negative effects of the substances studied on the occupational safety of construction workers. A better knowledge of the risk levels according to the current capabilities of workers under the effects of medication is a powerful tool in planning safer construction activities.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Teacher retention and development of the full potential of teachers is important at a national level in order to be able to belong to the top world economies. A number of studies suggests that part of the group of experienced teachers with more than 20 years of experience perform didactically at a lower level than would be expected and are at a greater risk for attrition. OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present study is to find explanations for this by making use of the Job Demands Resources Model. METHODS: Specific demands of the teaching profession,…interpersonal demands related to the developmental stage of experienced teachers, job resources and personal resources in relation to health and motivation are explored by reviewing a vast amount of literature. RESULTS: The proposed conceptual model is an extension of the Job Demands Resources Model with the inclusion of personal demands related to adulthood and personal resources. CONCLUSIONS: The resulting model provides us with clues on how attrition and decreased performance could be counteracted.