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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: In order to be successful in sport, athletes need a high level of physical skills as well as cognitive abilities. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this studywas to investigate the relationship between emotional intelligence, reaction time, aerobic capacity and performance (recorded time) in female track & field athletes at the Universities of Tehran. METHODS: Data was collected from 100 female athletes participating in sprints. The emotional intelligence in athletes was measured by the Bar-On questionnaire, the reaction time was assessed by the psychomotor vigilance task, and maximal aerobic capacity was predicted by step…test. Pearson correlation calculations were conducted to investigate the potential relationships between emotional intelligence total score, reaction time, and estimated VO2max, with recorded time of the students. RESULTS: Average age of female athletes was 20.59 years (±1.55) and mean height of them was 163.63 cm (±6.03). The mean emotional intelligence in athletes was 302.05 (±20.18), the mean reaction time was 431.14 ms (±114.88), and mean maximal aerobic capacity was predicted as 62.82 ml/ kg.min (±0.6). The findings revealed that there is no significant correlation between emotional intelligence and recorded time or athletic performance (p > 0.05). There were significant correlations between some components of emotional intelligence (empathy, interpersonal relations, and independence) and athletes’ recorded time. Reaction time and aerobic capacity were significantly correlated with athletes’ performance (p < 0.05). CONCLUSION: Increased aerobic capacity and decreased response time (reaction time) resulted in better performance (shorter recorded time) in female student athletes.
Keywords: Cardio-respiratory fitness, sports, cognitive ability, recorded time
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Hammering is a functional task in which the wrist generally follows a path of motion, however, previous studies paid relatively little attention to it. OBJECTIVE: The main objective of this study is to determine the optimal working height while using a straight-handled hammer to perform the hammering task. METHODS: Ten participants performed the hammering tasks on three different working heights (64, 80, and 96 cm) using three subjective hammering forces (light, medium, and heavy). RESULTS: The results revealed that there were linear increasing trends of shoulder abduction, which increased with the increased working height…when hammering and the trunk flexion revealed a contrary result. However, the ulnar deviation and trunk lateral bending were insensitive to the working heights. The hammering forces merely resulted in trunk flexion and lateral bending and no posture differences at upper extremities. CONCLUSION: The trade-off between acceptable trunk flexion and shoulder abduction was considered to determine a reasonable effective working height (by measuring downward from worker’s elbow height) in the range from 25 cm to 35 cm with a mean 30 cm. This range will be valuable for hammering job design.
Keywords: Hand tool, hammering posture, hammering force, working height
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Green jobs, being in line with the goals of sustainable development, promote “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth”, ensure a healthy functioning of Earth’s ecosystems and guarantee decent work for all workers and high levels of workers’ health. OBJECTIVE: Assessing whether green jobs protect and promote the health of workers and, at the same time, contribute to a reduction of occupational diseases and health damage resulting from accidents at work. METHODS: A core-set of Occupational Health indicators were selected to analyze the “sustainable work” in green employment, based on Annual Report. The indicators were applied to…281,124 establishments and 2,780,686 workers in Portugal. RESULTS: In the green job there is a lower level of organization as regards Occupational Health and Safety Services with a lower coverage of working population, and the incidence and severity of accidents at work is higher, as well as the percentage of workers with a lower level of professional qualification. CONCLUSIONS: Green job is not necessarily translated into safe, healthy and decent work. There is need and urgency to ensure a proper monitoring of green jobs in the context of Occupational Health, a requirement that should not be underestimated, if sustainable development is to be achieved.
Keywords: Sustainable development, green economy, occupational health and safety, environment and occupational health, occupational risks
Abstract: BACKGROUND: In production industries, physical loads have been observed for employees. The impact of these loads has been investigated in automotive industry assembly lines. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of different takt times on the forces and torques in body joints during loading. METHODS: Data were collected using an integrated system, including a motion capture system as a hardware subsystem and a tool for physics-based human simulation as a software subsystem. RESULTS: The results were compared for a human working for 3 seconds and 5 seconds; for 3…seconds, there was a negative impact on the bottom of the torso (L4), top of the torso (T12), left shoulder and upper arm (Lshoulder) joint forces and torques, but there was a reduction in the joint forces and torques on the right shoulder and upper arm (Rshoulder). Furthermore, the results reveal fluctuations and peak values in all joint forces and torques at the initial intervals due to the variation in speed. CONCLUSIONS: The initial acceleration is highly correlated with the risk of musculoskeletal disorders, physical loads and ergonomic problems. This study illustrates the importance of providing appropriate processing times for operators.
Keywords: Physical loads, motion capture system (MOCAP), real-time ergonomics evaluation
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Employment and hope have been correlated with improved health outcomes in individuals with disabilities. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship among barriers to employment and hope theory factors and whether those factors mediate between barriers to employment and health outcomes in individuals living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). METHODS: The sample from this study consisted of 1,702 participants who completed the National Working Positive Vocational Development and Employment Needs Survey NWPC-VDENS and identified as unemployed. A structural equation model was used to assess relationship among functioning level, past adversity, vocational…goal setting, pathway thinking, agentic thinking, mental health, general health perception, and T-Cell counts. RESULTS: Overall, the fit of the final structural equation model was good (RMSEA = 0.055, TLI = 0.924, CFI = 0.945). In this model, all the paths were significant below 0.001 of p -value except the path from agency to T-cell count, which was also significant below 0.05 of p -value. CONCLUSIONS: Goal setting showed high direct effect on agentic thinking and pathway thinking. Functioning level and past adversity impacted pathway thinking and goal setting while outcomes of hope factors to health variables were significantly positive as hypothesized.
Keywords: Vocational rehabilitation, early intervention, disability, goal setting, chronic illness
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Laptop use may be associated with poor health among University students. However, no psychometrically-sound instrument is available to measure biomechanical issues during laptop computer use in this population. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the test-retest reliability of the Student Laptop Use and Musculoskeletal Posture (SLUMP) questionnaire among undergraduate University students. PARTICIPANTS: We invited 179 undergraduate students from two Health Sciences courses at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology to participate in the study in October 2015. METHODS: We conducted a test-retest reliability study. The SLUMP questionnaire, which includes 51 questions, was administered twice at…a seven-day interval. We used weighted Kappa statistics to calculate test-retest reliability. RESULTS: Ninety-one students completed the study. 72.5% of the 51 questions achieved a Kw ≥0.60 with 29.4% of questions achieving a Kw ≥0.80. The reliability was similar for males and females. CONCLUSION: The SLUMP offers a promising method to measure biomechanical issues during laptop use among University students.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Alternative methods of accessing the internet and performing computing-related work tasks are becoming common, e.g., using tablets or standing workstations. Few studies examine postural differences while using these alternative methods. OBJECTIVE: To assess neck and upper limb kinematics while using a tablet, laptop and desktop computer (sitting and standing). METHODS: Differences in neck flexion/extension, lateral flexion, rotation; elbow flexion/extension; wrist flexion/extension, radial/ulnar deviation; and shoulder elevation in 30 participants were assessed in four conditions, three in sitting (tablet, laptop and desktop computer) and one in standing (desktop computer). Three-dimensional motion capture recorded posture variables during…an editing task. Differences between variables were determined using one-way ANOVA with Bonferroni post-hoc tests. RESULTS: Compared to the desktop (sitting), tablet and laptop use resulted in increased neck flexion (mean difference tablet 16.92°, 95% CI 12.79–21.04; laptop 10.92, 7.86–13.97, P < 0.001) and shoulder elevation (right; tablet 10.29, 5.27–15.11; laptop 7.36, 3.72–11.01, P < 0.001). There were no meaningful posture differences between the sitting and standing desktop. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that using a tablet or laptop may increase neck flexion, potentially increasing posture strain. Regular users of tablets/laptops should consider adjustments in their posture, however, further research is required to determine whether posture adjustments prevent or reduce musculoskeletal symptoms.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Exposure to excessive noise is the most common preventable cause of hearing loss. It has been estimated that more than 12% of the global population is at risk for hearing loss from noise and about one-third of all cases can be attributed to noise exposure. OBJECTIVES: Data on occupational noise and its associated hearing loss are lacking in Jordan. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) among industrial workers in Jordan. METHODS: This study included all workers who had been exposed to noise at least three years or more…in three plants in Madaba Governorate in Jordan. A structured questionnaire was used to collect the data. The occupational noise was measured using a portable calibrated sound meter. Pure-tone air conduction audiometry was performed to determine the hearing thresholds in the frequencies of 250, 500, 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 6000, and 8000 Hz for both ears of all subjects RESULTS: This study included 196 workers aged between 20 and 54 years with a mean (SD) of 35.9 (7.2) year. Overall, the prevalence of NIHL among workers was 28.6% (35.0% among those exposed to high level of noise (>85 dB) and 12.5% among workers exposed to low level of noise (≤85 dB)). Age >35 years (OR = 2.7; 95% CI: 1.2–6.1), high noise level (OR = 4.2; 95% CI: 1.6–10.5), exposure of more than 10 years (OR = 2.0; 95% CI: 1.1–5.9), and not using hearing protective devices (OR = 2.7; 95% CI: 1.1–6.6) were significantly associated with increased odds of hearing loss. CONCLUSIONS: About one quarter of noise-exposed industrial workers in Jordan has NIHL. Age >35 years, high noise level, exposure of more than 10 years, and not using hearing protective devices were significantly associated with increased risk of NIHL.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Backpacks are the most popular way of carrying additional weight; however, it puts the body under physical stress and may cause discomfort. It may also increase oxygen demand and energy cost. Manipulation of load placement may relieve the effects carrying a backpack has on the body. OBJECTIVE: This study investigated physiological and self-reported measures of exertion, movement economy and efficiency, carrying a loaded backpack in high and low load placement compared to a control condition. METHOD: Fifteen healthy adults were examined under three load conditions: no load, carrying a 20% of body weight in high…and low load placement. Dependent variables were measured using a metabolic measurement system and participants rated their perceived exertion on a Borg scale. RESULT: Carrying load produced a significant increase in VO2 , minute ventilation, heart rate, movement economy and overall perceived exertion in both load placements compared with the no backpack condition. However, no difference was observed between the high and low load placement conditions. CONCLUSION: While altering load placement did not influence physiological variables or overall exertion, participants reported lower perceived exertion on the shoulders in low load placement and low load placement might be preferable in this respect.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Unsafe behavior is an important component in the chain of accident occurrences, and thus plays a key role in the accident prevention programs in construction sites. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this qualitative research is to study the perception of frontline workers, supervisors, and managers about the preconditions of and contributing factors to unsafe behaviors in civil engineering projects. METHODS: Field observation, in-depth interview, and focus group discussion are conducted with 113 informants from various mega projects during a 2-year time period. Fishbone diagram is applied to describe a conceptual model. RESULTS: The results…point to fourteen themes within four categories of the conceptual model – general management, organizational factors, safety supervision and management, and individual characteristics. CONCLUSIONS: General management and organizational culture were introduced as important preconditions and contributing factors resulting in human error and unsafe behavior in the construction sites. The fishbone diagram reveals the sequence and interaction of preconditions and contributing factors. The key contributing factors and their influences on unsafe behaviors are discussed along with recommendations for future directions.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Sustained low-level muscle activity occurring during computer-based tasks is associated with the development of WMSDs (work-related musculoskeletal disorders) and this biomechanical exposure may be different between limbs. OBJECTIVE: To compare muscle activity from dominant and non-dominant upper trapezius (UT) and wrist extensors (WE) during computer-based tasks in real work settings. METHODS: Forty-five workers were monitored during two hours while performing their usual administrative tasks. Surface electromyography (sEMG) was recorded from UT and WE muscles in both sides. Rest and general exposure variables were calculated. RESULTS: The 50th percentile demonstrated little muscle activity demand,…for both dominant and non-dominant UT and no difference between sides was observed. The dominant WE muscles had lower measures of rest and higher muscle activity when compared with the non-dominant side. CONCLUSIONS: Differences in sEMG between upper limbs were only found in WE muscles, probably due to the use of the mouse. The overall low-level muscle activity suggests a constant activation of the same motor units for the entire data-collection period, which can be considered harmful for musculoskeletal health.
Keywords: Office work, occupational health, EMG, muscular rest, gap frequency
Abstract: BACKGROUND: During the 2009 H1N1 influenza epidemic, roughly half of survey respondents reported having worn a hygiene mask. However, most were unsatisfied with commercially available masks. OBJECTIVE: The long-term goal was to develop a comfortable, high-performance hygiene mask. This study investigated holistic attitudes of mask wearers and identified the most prominent problems as a basis for developing a new mask. METHODS: In 2009, 2012, and 2015, identical surveys were conducted among Japanese university students. The rate of mask use, intended uses, and problems reported while wearing a mask were aggregated. Co-occurrence analysis of individual respondents’ data…was conducted. RESULTS: For men, the most intended uses were influenza prevention in 2009 and common cold prevention in 2012 and 2015; common problems were humidity in the mask, glasses misting over, and breathing difficulty. For women, the most intended use was common cold prevention in all 3 years; common problems were humidity, glasses misting over, breathing difficulty, and makeup coming off. CONCLUSIONS: Men’s attitudes in 2009 were different from those in 2012 and 2015. However, women’s major attitudes were consistent in all 3 years. For both sexes, the most commonly reported problem was humidity in all 3 years. It is expected that more comfortable masks for daily use will result from improving humidity characteristics.
Keywords: Intended use, problem awareness, co-occurrence analysis
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Office workers spend long hours in their workplace, and these environments impact their well-being and performance. This relationship can involve different mediation chains. The degree of complexity of this relationship can vary depending on different types of office work (work patterns) employees carry out. OBJECTIVE: To analyze the relationship between indoor environment and absenteeism, and the mediating role of job satisfaction, affective well-being, and health, in different work patterns. METHOD: 1306 office workers from different European countries were classified into work patterns depending on: task complexity and interactivity. RESULTS: Job satisfaction, affective well-being,…and health mediate the relationship between indoor environment and absenteeism. However, differences in the mediation paths were found for different work patterns. The paths through which indoor environment can affect absenteeism increased as the work patterns increased in complexity and interactivity. CONCLUSION: Work patterns play a role in the relationship between indoor environment, health, well-being, and absenteeism. This study highlights the mechanisms through which an improved indoor environment can protect employees’ well-being, and decrease absenteeism in different work patterns. It also points out workers especially at risk of a detrimental impact of poor indoor environment and it suggests ways to prevent them.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Evidence suggests that leadership behaviors and sense of coherence (SOC) influences subordinate health. However, this has not been investigated in any detail. OBJECTIVES: To study the association between leadership behaviors and SOC. It was hypothesized that both task and relation oriented leadership behaviors would be positively associated with SOC, whereas a laissez-faire leadership would be negatively associated with SOC. METHODS: This is a cross-sectional quantitative study of managers and subordinates in a large governmental organization. The study used two common and empirically tested leadership styles: task oriented leadership and relation oriented leadership. In a…logistic regression analysis, the association between types of leadership behavior and SOC were analyzed while controlling for age, gender, income, type of employment and organizational tenure. RESULTS: Neither task oriented or relation oriented leadership behavior were significantly associated with SOC. CONCLUSIONS: The result indicates that the type of leadership behavior exercised is not directly associated with subordinate’s SOC. In future studies the importance of subordinate leadership preferences should be acknowledged. More research is needed to reach an understanding as to the nature of and the potential of this mechanism.