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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: Eileen Elias has decades of experience in leadership positions within government and nongovernmental organizations. As the first female Commissioner for Mental Health in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the US in the early 1990s, Elias gained experience on navigating gender-based challenges to attain recognized performance outcomes. OBJECTIVE: From lessons learned from women leaders, educate young women entering their careers on attaining leadership positions. METHODS: Comprehensive research of literature from 2012 through 2017 and interviews with women leaders representing non-Fortune 500 companies including academia, research, non-profit, for-profit, and primary and secondary education. Interviewees included:1. Gail Bassin,…Co-Chief Executive Officer and Treasurer, JBS International Inc. 2. Jeri Epstein, Executive Director, The Ambit Foundation 3. Valerie Fletcher, Executive Director, Institute for Human Centered Design 4. Christine James-Brown, President and CEO, Child Welfare League of America 5. Daria Mochly-Rosen, PhD, Professor and Fellow, Chemical and Systems Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine 6. Eileen O’Keefe, MD, MPH, Clinical Associate Professor and Director, Boston University Health Sciences 7. Jeri Shaw, President and Co-Chief Executive Officer, JBS International Inc. RESULTS/CONCLUSIONS: A comprehensive understanding of key women leaders’ lessons learned and recommendations targeting young women as they assess leadership opportunities in the public or private sectors.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Previous studies demonstrate a higher risk for pregnant women to experience stressors within the work context and therefore suggest a higher risk for occupational stress. However, the interaction between work and pregnancy in Germany is currently an area without much active research, even though it is a common occurrence. OBJECTIVE: This qualitative study explores stressors, coping behaviors and related consequences for pregnant employees in Germany. Furthermore, the study researches intervention possibilities for the purpose to prevent the target group from negative health outcomes. METHODS: Thirteen semi-standardized interviews with employed pregnant women living and working in…Germany were conducted. The interviews were recorded and verbatim transcribed. Data was analyzed by Mayring’s structuring qualitative content analysis. RESULTS: Compounding the results, the interviewed women noted most frequently stressors in relation to their employer/line manager due to their pregnant condition. Even though the women showed various adaptive coping behaviors, the identified negative consequences, mainly on their emotional wellbeing. Various intervention possibilities to improve the pregnant employee’s situation were mentioned. CONCLUSIONS: This study was able to explore broad insights into the topic of pregnant employees in Germany. Therefore, this study underlines the actuality and relevance of the topic and is able to contribute to a scientific discussion about pregnancy at the workplace.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Limited literature exists investigating biomechanical changes during a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE). OBJECTIVE: To determine change in joint angle measurement between minimum load to safe maximum load in the bench to shoulder lift of the WorkHab FCE. METHODS: Dartfish ProSuite was used to analyse bench to shoulder lift video from 28 subjects. Measurements of joint angle at lumbar spine, thoracic spine, elbow and shoulder at four points in the ascending and descending lift phases (0/3, 1/3, 2/3, 3/3) in the minimum load and safe maximum lift were collected. Paired t -tests were used to analyse…differences in joint angles between lifts. RESULTS: Significant differences in joint angles were identified in the thoracic spine, elbow and shoulder at maximal weight. Increased extension occurred: Thoracic spine at 3/3 ascending [2.922, 95% CI 0.8, 3.8, p = 0.004]. Increased flexion occurred: elbow ascending [1/3:6.405, 95% CI –11.8, 1.8, p = 0.008],[3/3:15.575, 95% CI 4.2, 27.0, p = 0.009]; elbow descending [0/3:18.446, 95% CI 9.5, 27.4, p = 0.000]; shoulder ascending [3/3:16.785, 95% CI 11.8, 21.8, p < 0.001]; shoulder descending [0/3:16.647, 95% CI 10.6, 22.7, p < 0.001]. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides insight into the biomechanical changes during a bench to shoulder lift and support observations and clinical reasoning used in determining the safe maximal lift.
Keywords: Functional Capacity Evaluation, magnitude of load, bench to shoulder lift, manual handling
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) experience a high risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) and are further made vulnerable by their situation in low levels of workplace and societal hierarchies of power and privilege. OBJECTIVE: This study applies structural vulnerability theory to CNA WMSD experiences in order to identify structural factors that may influence such injuries. METHODS: A sample of CNAs (n = 26) working in Nursing and Residential Care Facilities (NRCFs) was selected from workers who filed a claim during 2011–2014 for a WMSD of the back, shoulder, knee, or hand/wrist in the Washington State Department…of Labor & Industries workers’ compensation system. Interviews included questions about workers’ injury experiences and work contexts. Qualitative data was analyzed for themes related to structural vulnerability theory and occupational safety and health (OSH) models. RESULTS: Themes illustrate a work environment in NRCFs with major organizational deficiencies for CNA safety and a broader structural environment that appears to mediate them. CNAs described policies and practices that result from management priorities being diverted away from worker safety. These difficulties are compounded by several aspects of CNAs’ socio-economic vulnerability. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates the utility of a structural perspective for OSH disparities research and points to the need for occupational health intervention on a structural level.
Keywords: Structural vulnerability, WMSD, nursing homes, CNA, medical anthropology
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Wrist disorders are common in force demanding industrial repetitive work. Visual assessment of force demands have a low reliability, instead surface electromyography (EMG) may be used as part of a risk assessment for work-related wrist disorders. For normalization of EMG recordings, a power grip (hand grip) is often used as maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) of the forearm extensor muscles. However, the test-retest reproducibility is poor and EMG amplitudes exceeding 100% have occasionally been recorded during work. An alternative MVC is resisted wrist extension, which may be more reliable. OBJECTIVE: To compare hand grip and resisted wrist extension…MVCs, in terms of amplitude and reproducibility, and to examine the effect of electrode positioning. METHODS: Twelve subjects participated. EMG from right forearm extensors, from four electrode pairs, was recorded during MVCs, on three separate occasions. RESULTS: The group mean EMG amplitudes for resisted wrist extension were 1.2–1.7 times greater than those for hand grip. Resisted wrist extension showed better reproducibility than hand grip. CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that the use of resisted wrist extension is a more accurate measurement of maximal effort of wrist extensor contractions than using hand grip and should increase the precision in EMG recordings from forearm extensor muscles, which in turn will increase the quality of risk assessments that are based on these.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Pushing and pulling tasks are very common in daily and industrial workplaces. They are one major source of musculoskeletal complaints. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to examine the foot placement strategy while pushing and pulling. PARTICIPANTS: Thirteen young males and ten young females were recruited as participants. METHODS: A two (pushing and pulling) by four (48 cm, 84 cm, 120 cm, and 156 cm) factorial design was used. RESULTS: Exertion direction and exertion height significantly affected foot placement strategy. Pushing task needed more anteroposterior space than pulling task. The percentages of female/male for trailing foot position…ranged from 77% to 90% (pushing) and from 80% to 93% (pulling) across the exertion heights. CONCLUSION: Practitioners should provide an anteroposterior space approximately to 70% body stature for workers to exert their maximum pulling and pushing strengths.
Keywords: Force exertion, capability, workplace design
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The aging work force makes sustainable employability (SE) of workers a priority. However, it is unknown to what extent employees use implemented SE measures. OBJECTIVE: To determine the utilization of 1) SE measures offered by employers, 2) employee SE strategies, and 3) to identify barriers and facilitators of SE strategies. METHODS: Survey data were collected among 731 blue collar and 879 white collar workers to determine the utilization of employer SE measures. Focus groups were held with 16 blue collar and 17 white collar workers to identify employee SE strategies and their barriers and facilitators.…RESULTS: Utilization of employer SE measures was highest for personal development measures. Strategies applied by blue collar workers included using equipment, suggesting improvements of their working conditions, and seeking promotion to a less physically demanding job. White collar workers named engaging in leisure time physical activity and seeking an adequate work-life balance. Implementation of these strategies was influenced by employee awareness and self-efficacy, the accessibility and costs and benefits of the strategy, management support and company culture. CONCLUSION: Usage of employer SE measures was generally low and recommendations are given for both blue and white collar workers to improve SE strategies.
Keywords: Occupational health and security, implementation, barrier, physical load, stress
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The inability to perform productive work due to mental disorders is a growing concern in advanced societies. OBJECTIVE: To investigate medically certified mental disorder and all-cause sick leave in a working population using demographic, socioeconomic and occupational predictors. METHODS: The study population was the entire Swedish work force aged 16-64 years in December 31st 2011. The outcome was sick leave exceeding 14 days in 2012 with adjustment for 13 confounders. RESULTS: The risk of sick leave with a mental disorder is higher among women compared to men, among persons aged 30–39 and among…parents in families with underage children. Employees in welfare service occupations within health care, education and social services have an elevated risk of mental disorder sick leave and constitute a large proportion of the workforce. CONCLUSION: The results support the need for improving early detection and prevention of mental disorders in the workforce. Improvements in psychosocial work environments are essential, where the higher risk in female dominated welfare occupations particularly, have repercussions on the quality of the welfare services provided for vulnerable groups in society. Better work-life balance in families with younger children could also mitigate the effects of a high total workload in that particular phase of life.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Smart mobile devices gain increasing importance at work. Integrating these smart mobile devices into the workplace creates new opportunities and challenges for occupational health and safety. OBJECTIVES: Therefore the aim of the following scoping review was to identify ergonomic challenges with the use of smart mobile devices at work with respect to physical problems. METHOD: A review of 36 papers based on literature including January 2016 was conducted. RESULTS: Biomechanical measures in the reviewed studies demonstrated i.e., head flexion angles exceeding 20° in 20 out of 26 different conditions described. Furthermore, laterally deviated…wrists were frequently noted and thumb and finger flexor muscle activities generally greater than 5% MVC were reported. CONCLUSION: The reviewed literature indicated an elevated biomechanical risk, especially for the neck, the wrists and thumb. This was due to poor posture, ongoing and intermitted muscle tension, and/or repetitive movements. Papers addressing specific risks for smartphone and tablet use in different work environments are scarce. As the technology, as well as the use of smart mobile devices is rapidly changing, further research, especially for prolonged periods in the workplace is needed.
Keywords: Posture, muscle activity, smartphone, mobile phone, tablet-pc