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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: The emerging frequency of Behavioural Mental Health Disorders among Brazilian workers and the recent legal demand for analysis of psychosocial risks in the workplace highlight the importance of standardizing measures to assess these risks as a way to allow identification and proper comparison among different populations. OBJECTIVE: To assess the psychometric properties of the COPSOQ II questionnaire medium version for southern Brazil, based on the Spanish medium-length version of COPSOQ-ISTAS21 II. METHODS: A sample of 426 workers from a university in southern Brazil answered the model under study online. Content validity and internal consistency were…analyzed through Confirmatory Factor Analysis (AFC) and Exploratory Factor Analysis (AFE) and Cronbach’s α coefficient. RESULTS: The study model presented a response rate of 48.46%. The analyses indicated the possibility of the instrument to present reliability and validity of content. From the AFE, the final model consisted of 13 dimensions and 70 items, and presented a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.82, which is considered a good internal consistency. CONCLUSIONS: The results showed that the final model of this study presents acceptable levels of reliability and internal validity for the application in Brazil, along with the groups of workers that resemble the participants of the research, to assess psychosocial risks in the workplace.
Keywords: Occuppational health, Occupational risks, surveys and questionnaires, Psychometry
Abstract: BACKGROUND: A large number of different methods are available to identify and assess working postures. Although observation-based methods are most commonly used in practise, investigations showed different results regarding validity of such methods. OBJECTIVE: To investigate validity of one of the most commonly used observation-based assessment method in ergonomics, the Ovako Working Posture Analysing System (OWAS) and the European standard EN 1005-4 for evaluation of working postures, an experimental laboratory study was conducted. METHODS: Muscle activity was measured under combinations of static working postures of trunk inclination and shoulder flexion to compare these measurements and observation-based…assessments according to OWAS and EN 1005-4. In order to investigate the magnitude of correspondence between muscle activity and observation-based assessments, Spearman rank correlation coefficients (rs ) were calculated. RESULTS: Significant correlations were found between OWAS and muscle activity (range from rs 2 = 0.17 rs 2 = 0.55). Significant correlations were found between EN 1005-4 and muscle activity (range from rs 2 = 0.34 to rs 2 = 0.74). CONCLUSIONS: Results emphasise a need for further developments of observation-based methods, since the two investigated methods showed a variance of validity ranging from small to large. Such improvements may also form a better basis for the ergonomic improvement of working conditions in practise, which is highly necessary due to a constantly high prevalence of MSDs in the last decades.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Despite ergonomic improvements in the workplace of automobile parts manufacturing industry, many jobs still require workers to perform repetitive tasks or manual material handling. OBJECTIVE: This study compares the characteristics of occupational injuries between MMH and non-MMH in the automobile parts manufacturing industry based in South Korea and the US. METHODS: Occupational injuries were analyzed by age, work experience, company size, employment type, injury severity, work type, type of accident, agency of accident, injured part of body, and injury type. RESULTS: Among 1,530 injuries, 271 people (17.7%) were MMH injuries, and 1,259 people…(82.3%) were non-MMH injuries. The rate of MMH injury was higher in the logistics process, in the work experience with more than 10 years, and in the company size with more than 100 employees than that of the non-MMH injury. Also, the rate of MMH injury was higher in the types of sprain and herniated discs, and in the injured part of trunk/back, leg/foot, and shoulder than that of the non-MMH injury. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study can be used as essential data for establishing a systematic preventive policy for industrial accidents in the automobile parts manufacturing industry.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Employment is a key determinant in quality of life. However, less than 50% of adults with ASD are employed. OBJECTIVE: In order to better support community-based employment for persons with ASD who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), there is a need to better understand those situations in which successful outcomes have been achieved. METHOD: This study utilized a multiple case design to investigate the experiences of seven individuals with ASD who use AAC and are successfully employed in the community. RESULTS: Results provide evidence that individuals with ASD who use AAC can…be successfully employed, when provided with appropriate supports. Expressive and receptive communication were commonly identified as challenges, however, mobile devices provided support to communication and participation for many of the participants with ASD. CONCLUSIONS: Results from the current study provide evidence that successful employment for individuals with ASD who use AAC is possible when intervention addresses three key areas: the development of skills that are valued in the workplace, the identification and creation of good job matches, and access to needed supports.
Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder, augmentative and alternative communication, transition, employment
Abstract: BACKGROUND: There is limited research available regarding the coping skills of individuals living with schizophrenia and the strategies used in the open labor market, particularly from a South African context. OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to explore and describe the barriers, facilitators and coping strategies that individuals with schizophrenia use when returning to the open labor market after participating in a vocational rehabilitation program to improve work skills. PARTICIPANTS: Four individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia and two key informants (occupational therapists) participated in the study. METHODS: The research study was positioned within the…interpretive paradigm, specifically utilizing an exploratory and descriptive design. Semi-structured interviews were used in order to gather data from the participants. RESULTS: Theme one reflects the barriers related to returning to work (i.e. society’s acceptance of an individual’s work potential). The second theme relates to the enabling factors related to returning to work (i.e. the usefulness of work preparation programs to enhance open labor market employability). Theme three relates to the coping skills that individuals with schizophrenia utilize (i.e. holistic support enhances participation in the worker role). CONCLUSION: In conclusion, the findings indicate individuals with schizophrenia experience barriers that prevent them from being able to adapt to their work environments. However, with the support of the occupational therapist, family, and employer, together with improvements to the vocational rehabilitation program, these barriers may be alleviated, and there could be an improvement in the reintegration of individuals with schizophrenia into the open labor market. The findings suggest that the disclosure of an individual’s medical diagnosis, in order to facilitate the return to work of an individual diagnosed with schizophrenia, could be viewed as a barrier and a facilitator.
Keywords: Open labor market, schizophrenia, coping skills and strategies, rehabilitation
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Normative data on Hand grip strength has a wide range of application and is of great value. OBJECTIVE: To establish gender and age-specific reference data concerning hand grip strength of Iranian office workers, to explore possible relationships with demographic and anthropometric factors and to develop appropriate predictive models. METHODS: The study population included 418 (220 males and 198 females) Iranian office employees. They were divided into 5-year age-groups. Hand length, palm width, palm length, forearm length, wrist circumference, and forearm circumference were measured by means of a digital Caliper (±0.01 mm) and a tape meter (±0.1 cm).…The value of hand grip strength was measured by JAMAR hydraulic dynamometer respecting the American Society of Hand Therapy recommendations. RESULTS: The average of grip strength for dominant and non-dominant hands (in Kg) respectively was 51.10±9.50 and 46.90±9.89 for male and 28.76±4.47 and 25.89±4.60 for female. Age was curvilinearly related to hand grip strength. All selected hand dimensions were highly correlated with grip strength; palm width, palm length and hand length being the most correlated ones, respectively. Prediction equations of hand grip strength were developed for dominant and non-dominant hands of both genders. CONCLUSIONS: Suggested norms would provide more accuracy for ergonomic designers as well as health practitioners especially with regards to proposed prediction models with which grip strength could be estimated faster and easier.
Keywords: Normative data, hand anthropometry, gender, handedness, JAMAR dynamometer
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Many individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) are unemployed relatively soon after diagnosis. There is a paucity of research on the relationship between psychological distress and employment status in persons with MS. OBJECTIVE: To explore the relative distress of employed versus unemployed individuals with MS. METHODS: Secondary cross-sectional analysis of a mailed survey. Variables were categorized by demographics (age, gender, education, marital status), disease (EDSS, MS symptom duration, fatigue, MS-type), and psychosocial factors (depression, anxiety, perceived stress, self-reported general cognitive concerns, self-reported executive dysfunction). Univariate logistic regression analysis was used to identify variables significantly associated with…employment status. All significant variables were then included in a multivariate model to identify the most salient correlates. RESULTS: Univariate analyses identified 10 variables that were significantly associated with employment status: age, education, EDSS, MS symptom duration, MS-type, depression symptoms, perceived stress, fatigue, and self-reported cognitive symptoms. The multivariate model yielded four demographic and disease-related variables and one emotional distress variable (older age, moderate disability [EDSS], longer symptom duration, MS-type, higher perceived stress) as significant. CONCLUSIONS: After adjusting for disease variables, demographics, and significant psychosocial factors, perceived stress remained associated with employment status, such that greater perceived stress was associated with being unemployed.
Keywords: Occupational status, productivity, emotional distress, MS symptoms
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The workforce is ageing. While those in relatively sedentary occupations may be largely unaffected, for those employed in more physically demanding occupations, and the organizations who employ them, this poses a challenge. OBJECTIVE: In this cross-sectional survey of outdoor council workers in South Australia we sought to address the challenge of an ageing workforce demographic by examining the association between a range of workplace risks and hazards with work ability scores. PARTICIPANTS: 155 workers from five groups of outdoor workers in a large metropolitan council participated in the research. METHODS: Questionnaires were administered…during staff meetings. The survey instrument included questions on demographic and employment characteristics, physical and psychosocial risk factors and the Work Ability Index. RESULTS: Those with excellent or good work ability scores comprised 43% of workers each. Those categorized as having moderate work ability scores comprised 14% of workers. There were no workers with poor work ability scores. Associations with work ability scores were found for age, pain and discomfort, perceptions of health and safety at work, as well as a range of psychosocial and physical risk factors. CONCLUSIONS: The results confirm a link between work ability and a range of physical and psychosocial risk factors, which if addressed, may improve the longevity of the workforce.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Research conducted in collaboration between academic and non-academic partners (known as integrated knowledge translation [iKT]) in the field of occupational health and safety needs to be evaluated. OBJECTIVE: This study examined three collaborative workplace-based intervention projects that focused on reducing exposure to occupational carcinogens. Practice, policy and advocacy intermediary organizations partnered with multidisciplinary groups of researchers. This evaluation study sought to understand the characteristics of successful and unsuccessful iKT partnerships from the perspective of the intermediaries. METHODS: Researchers conducted face-to-face interviews with 21 intermediaries and used a thematic-driven “framework analysis” method to analyze the interviews,…based upon an evolving conceptual framework. RESULTS: Seven enablers and barriers of collaboration were identified. Enablers included having: adequate capacity; defined project roles; the right partners; an inclusive project leader; mutual respect; good communication; and shared values and priorities. Lacking these was considered a barrier. Seven outcomes were identified as: improved relevance and quality of the research; learning about each others’ “world”; building contacts; improved use of research in practice and policy; dissemination of the research; development of trust and goodwill; and continued collaborations. CONCLUSIONS: Recommendations for future collaborative studies include: spend time defining roles, responsibilities, and expectations; ensure practitioners have the time and resources, and the commitment to the project; and choose representatives from the organizations with the necessary skills or decision-making mandate.
Keywords: Integrated knowledge translation, occupational disease, intermediaries as research partners, workplace intervention research