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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: More than 13 million employees are working in the public education sector which includes more than just teachers in the United States. This industry sector also employs custodians, maintenance, and administration. To date, there is very limited information about the type and frequency of injuries for these employees. OBJECTIVE: To identify injury trends related to frequency and severity for different occupational injuries in a large urban school district. METHODS: Between 2014–2015, school district employees reported a total of 598 occupational injuries. Initial analysis of the data provided the frequency of injuries overall and for individual…occupational categories. The Severity Index provides a score for job category and injury type based on severity and frequency. RESULTS: Overall, the Slip, Trip and Fall category had the highest frequency, followed by Combative Situations, and Over-exertion. Teacher and Para-professional workers experienced the greatest number of injuries with violence being the most frequent cause. Based on the Severity Index, Over-exertion was identified as the primary exposure concern for Custodians, while Slip, Trip and Fall category had the greatest impact on Building Engineers. CONCLUSIONS: With the diversity of negative outcomes, the administration will need targeted interventions for the various professions represented in the school systems. The injury severity profile indicates non-teachers should be a high priority for interventions with over-exertion and slips, trips and falls leading the risk.
Keywords: Teachers, custodians, lifting, assaults, slips, trips and falls
Abstract: BACKGROUND: In literature, there are many instruments for evaluating workaholism; however, they do not have convergent validity, because of the lack of a shared definition of workaholism. OBJECTIVE: We propose a new instrument for evaluating workaholism and work engagement, namely the Work-related Inventory (WI-10), which is based on Loscalzo and Giannini’s (2017) comprehensive definition of workaholism. METHODS: We developed a pool of 36 items, covering: 1) addiction symptoms; 2) obsessive-compulsive symptoms, and 3) work engagement. Then, we conducted Exploratory and Confirmatory Factor analyses on a sample of 503 Italian workers (165 males, 337 females, one missing;…Mean age = 38.26±10.84) aiming to reduce the number of items. RESULTS: The results showed a 10-items (2 filler) and 2-factor solution: 1) Workaholism and 2) Work Engagement; moreover, the WI-10 has good internal reliability, convergent and divergent validity. CONCLUSIONS: We found good psychometric properties for the WI-10. We also proposed the cut-off scores for the screening of the four kinds of workers proposed by Loscalzo and Giannini (2017): disengaged workaholics, engaged workaholics, engaged workers, and detached workers. The WI-10 will be useful for both research and preventive and clinical purposes.
Keywords: Heavy work investment, organizations, screening, well-being, work
addiction, work engagement
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Considering that, environments with information and communication technology innovations, including educational institutions, are providing more interaction among individuals anywhere in the world and contributing to higher learning flexibility, it is necessary to pay extra attention to the radiation dissipated by technological equipment in these environments. OBJECTIVE: Investigate whether the behavior of the globe temperature (tg ) in relation to the air temperature (ta ) could affect the performance of students in information technology laboratories (ITLs). METHODS: The methodological procedures adopted consisted of the following analyses in six institutions: thermal variables - mean radiant temperature (trm…) and (tg -ta ); students’ performance and architectural elements. RESULTS: ITL G was the ITL with the highest incidence of thermal radiation, thus a mathematical model was proposed for this sample to determine whether (tg - ta ) and trm are related to overall student performance (Dt ). For each increase of one degree in the difference between the globe temperature and the air temperature (tg -ta ), the students’ performance in the institution G decreased by approximately 29%. CONCLUSION: As well as productivity can be altered due to changes in air temperature in air-conditioned teaching environments, in this specific case, if tg > >ta , possibly the thermal radiation may interfere with the performance of the people present in the environment technological innovations of communication and information.
Keywords: Thermal radiation, globe temperature, mean radiant temperature, student performance
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Construction workers are at greater risk of musculoskeletal disorders due to their exposure to physical ergonomic risk factors. OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study is to quantify the ergonomic hazards for workers in the construction of residential buildings. METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, PATH method, a work-sampling observation method, was applied to study the working postures, handled loads, and manual material handling activities in construction workers. A total of 5832 observations were made on 10 workers involved in tasks of three jobs including reinforcing bar, formwork, and pouring concrete. The ergonomic exposure was characterized in…terms of percentage of observations made for each task. RESULTS: Non-neutral trunk postures, especially mild and severe flexions, were frequently observed in all job tasks. High-strain leg postures of squatting, kneeling, and leg(s) bent were mostly observed in floor formwork (39%), concrete finishing (5%), and floor rebar construction (52.3%), respectively. The highest proportion of work time with one (5.8%) and two hands (9%) at/above shoulder was observed in column rebar construction. In concrete pouring and rebar cutting, workers were observed in 39.45% and 23.1% of work time doing carry and push/pull activities, respectively. Heavy loads (>15 kg) were mostly observed in concrete pouring and floor formwork tasks. CONCLUSION: In the construction of residential buildings with the concrete structure, workers perform their task with non-neutral postures of trunk and leg and handling heavy loads. The recommended controls could reduce the musculoskeletal stress in rebar tying, concrete pouring, and concrete finishing tasks.
Keywords: Construction industry, posture analysis, observation, material handling
Abstract: Although the evolution of human occupational tasks has been encouraging with a shift from an active lifestyle to a more sedentary way of life, workplaces have also been suggested as a new strategic opportunity to promote physical activity. While there is a growing body of literature regarding the effect of worksite physical activity interventions, there is a need to improve these interventions, their objectives and implementation. This Sounding Board article proposes for the first time a framework regarding the implementation of such interventions within the workplace, suggesting a joint approach combining physical activity and health specialists as well as…ergonomists that are experts in human work sciences.
Abstract: This case study will focus on the “evolution” of finding meaningful occupation for a young man, Patrick, 27, in spite of his multiple disabilities within his rural home environment in Stowe, Vermont. The purpose of this case study is to show others (family members, therapists, support service individuals and adult agencies) that it is possible to be self-employed despite life’s challenges, and that with some creativity (and funding), there is a niche of meaningful occupation available for all!
Keywords: Retinopathy of prematurity, supported employment, job coach, cerebral palsy
Abstract: BACKGROUND: There is a consensus in the evidence literature on the importance of Quality of Work Life (QWL) as it is a prerequisite to increase employees’ productivity and wellbeing [2 ], [1 ], [11 ]. While studies of the effect of demographic characteristics (gender, age, work experience and socio-professional categories) on QWL have conflicting results [1 ], [14 ], [15 ], [16 ], particularly in the services (tertiary) sector of activity, which is economically considered as the most important sector, as it encompasses a large spectrum of activities. OBJECTIVE: This paper aims to measure the level of QWL…and to study the differences in demographic characteristics (gender, age, work experience and socio-professional category) among managerial staff. METHODS: Managerial staff members in the Algerian tertiary sector (N = 252) participated in the study. Data were collected using a questionnaire. RESULTS: The analysis of the results suggested that the level of QWL was average ( x ¯ = 253.61, SD = 46.775), on an ordinal scale ranging from a score value of 75 (min.) to 375 (max.) as shown in Table 2 , and, there were no statistically significant differences in QWL between demographic characteristics categories: (1) gender, (2) age, (3) work experience and (4) socio-professional categories. The results are discussed in the light of previous researches. CONCLUSIONS: The study concluded that the QWL needs more attention from management levels in the public sector in Algeria.
Keywords: Level of QWL, dimensions of QWL, employees’ wellbeing, public sector
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Information and communication technology increasingly addresses the information needs patients have regarding their personal health. While an understanding of older adults’ needs is crucial for developing successful eHealth technology, user research results hardly apply to different systems. OBJECTIVE: The present study aims at: (1) describing and analysing the context of digital health systems in a general manner, (2) investigating if information need of older adults influences their technology usage to show the relevance of the concept for a general context analysis and (3) testing which demographic variables intervene with their health information need. METHODS: Survey…data from a longitudinal study with older adults (N = 551) were reported descriptively. After showing a significant relationship during chi-square tests, we quantified the ones between general health information need and technology usage, as well as between general health information need and the demographic variables age, education, chronic diseases and gender by means of (multiple) linear regression models. RESULTS: We predicted older adults’ technology usage based on their health information need. The results confirmed this relationship. Higher information need led to a more frequent usage of apps installed on the tablet personal computer (PC), to a frequent use of smartwatches and to the possession of a computer or laptop. Users’ education has a higher impact on health information need than amount of chronic diseases, gender and age. CONCLUSIONS: Information need emerged as a useful object for investigation of context and user requirement analysis across different systems: it predicted technology usage so that design recommendations derived from the descriptive gained in importance.
Keywords: Information-seeking behavior, technology usage, requirement analysis, human factors, digital health, user study, usability
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Muscular strength and endurance are important attributes for structural firefighting. Matching resistance exercises to firefighter job demands is not well-established. OBJECTIVE: This study compared the electromyographic (EMG) activity of major muscles during the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) and weight lifting exercises in firefighters. METHODS: A repeated measures study was conducted in 13 full-duty career firefighters (1 F, 12 M; age 18–44 years). Participants completed seven weight lifting exercises at a university laboratory. They separately completed the CPAT at a firefighting training grounds. During each activity, surface EMG (% maximum voluntary isometric contraction - MVIC)…of major muscle groups was recorded and compared between exercises and CPAT. RESULTS: No difference in EMG activity was observed between exercises and CPAT for the deltoid, trapezius, lumbar multifidus, gluteal, and biceps femoris muscles. EMG activity was significantly greater during the CPAT for the abdominal obliques (32.3% ±27.7% vs. 12.1% ±8.3%, p < 0.001) and for the latissimus dorsi (21.8% ±25.1% vs. 11.4% ±7.7%, p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Standard weight lifting and abdominal oblique exercises should be incorporated into resistance training programs for firefighters.
Keywords: Muscle activation, occupational injuries, resistance training, job related exercise, tactical athletes, first responders
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Firefighting is a hazardous profession that involves high fall risk and is crucial component for the safety of people. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to identify factors that impact on postural stability patterns of firefighters. METHODS: The study examined 177 Polish firefighters from the National Firefighting and Rescue System (NFRS) aged 31.9±10.1 years, with body height of 179.6±5.93, body mass of 83.9±11.0 and BMI of 26.0±3.03. Postural stability was evaluated by means of the Balance System SD (Biodex USA) set at the level 12 of instability, in a sportswear, bunker gear, with and…without visual input. The fall risk test (FRI) was also performed. Four indices were analysed: overall stability index (OSI), anterior-posterior stability index (APSI), medial-lateral stability index (MLSI), and fall risk index (FRI). RESULTS: Mean results for fall risk index (FRI) were in the normal range for all age groups regardless of the type of clothing the firefighters were wearing. Individual results obtained in the fall risk test, 128 firefighters were in the normal range for their age, furthermore, 10 firefighters obtained better results than the normal range, 34 firefighters had worse results and 5 people failed to complete the test. Postural stability with eyes closed was found to decline with age. Wearing bunker gear did not have an effect on postural stability. CONCLUSIONS: Balance tests should be integrated into the firefighting training routines in order to improve balance and support fall prevention. Exercises with reduced visual input should also be incorporated into the training methodology.
Keywords: Work safety, firefighters’ balance, fall risk test
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Firefighters have high rates of exposures to critical events that contribute to physical and mental stress, resulting in high rates of injury and work-injury compensation claims. OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of critical incidents in firefighters from a single fire service, and whether the number of critical events varied based on age, gender, years of service and/or rank. METHODS: We recruited 300 full-time firefighters. Firefighters were asked to complete a self-report Critical Incident Inventory survey that included questions on exposure to critical events during firefighting duties, with a time reference point of the past two…months. RESULTS: Among the 293 firefighters, 252 (85%) indicated exposure to some type of critical incident. More specifically, 187 (64%) reported a respond to incident involving one or two deaths, 155 (53%) indicated a direct exposure to blood and body fluids, and 98 (33%) reported a response to an incident involving multiple serious injuries. Age, gender, years of service and rank accounted for only 1% of the variance in the number of critical incidents among firefighters. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, 85% of firefighters had been exposed to some type of critical incident in the previous 2-months and this did not vary by age, gender, years of service and/or rank.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Firefighters’ activities require constant adjustments of the cardiovascular system with cardiac autonomic function (CAF) playing an important role. Despite the crucial role of CAF in regulating stress response, little is known about firefighters’ CAF. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to characterize the resting on-duty and off-duty CAF of male firefighters, in association with cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF). METHODS: We evaluated 38 firefighters in an on-duty rest condition and 26 firefighters in an off-duty laboratory-controlled condition. CAF was addressed by means of heart rate variability (HRV). We compared HRV measurements between CRF categories (<12METs vs ≥12METs). Wilcoxon, Mann-Whitney…texts and Spearman correlation were used and General Linear Model was applied for age and BMI adjustments. RESULTS: Firefighters’ resting CAF is characterized by a predominant sympathetic modulation and a large inter-individual dispersion in all HRV indices, in both groups. We found a positive correlation between a higher CRF, the overall CAF and the higher parasympathetic activity (p < 0,03). Firefighters with CRF ≥12 METs showed a higher parasympathetic modulation. CONCLUSIONS: Firefighters’ resting CAF is characterized by a predominant sympathetic modulation and a large inter-individual dispersion in all HRV indices, in both groups. Our results support mandatory physical training focused in improving firefighters’ CAF as a cardiopretective effect.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Firefighters must complete a physical ability test to assess work readiness. There is a lack of understanding of how personal protective clothing (PPC) affects functional performance tests for work readiness, e.g. Triple Hop for Distance (THD) and Triple Hop for Work (THW). OBJECTIVE: To examine firefighter PPC’s effect on the THD and THW measures. METHODS: Thirty-one healthy, untrained participants (male = 20, female = 11; age = 23±3 years; height = 175.30± 11.12 cm; mass = 77.94±14.24 kg; mass in PPC = 89.14±14.68 kg) completed three successful trials of the THD on their dominant and non-dominant leg, with and without PPC. The main outcome measures included maximum and mean distances…on the THD with and without PPC and THW. RESULTS: We identified a significant decrease in THD measures (mean difference = 97.83 cm; p < 0.001) and THW measures (mean difference = –326.61J; p < 0.001) when donning PPC in the dominant leg. We identified a significant decrease in THD (mean difference = 121.48 cm; p < 0.001) and THW (mean difference = 493.15J; p < 0.001) for females, and a significant difference for THD (mean difference = 84.83 cm; p < 0.001) for males when donning PPC. CONCLUSIONS: The addition of PPC decreased the THD and THW measures. The additional mass of the PPC required the more energy to move the same distance without the PPC.
Keywords: Tactical athlete, work readiness, occupational health
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Firefighting specific personal protective ensembles (PPE) have decreased the number of injuries and illnesses related to exposure to fire products; however nearly half of fire related injuries are musculoskeletal in nature. The external load of the PPE may contribute to balance deficits; placing firefighters at an increased risk of injury. OBJECTIVE: To determine the effects of PPE on dynamic balance in firefighters. METHODS: Forty male firefighters (age = 37.1±8.2y; height = 182.7±8.5 cm; mass = 98.9±14.4 kg; years of experience = 11.0±6.2y) completed this study. Participants completed the dynamic balance tasks in station attire (– PPE) and while donning firefighting specific PPE (+PPE) (mass of…PPE = 23.8±2.1 kg). We measured dynamic balance using the lower quarter Y Balance Test with average measures of three trials in the anterior, posteromedial, and posterolateral reach for each limb. RESULTS: We found significant negative alterations in dynamic balance with the addition of PPE for the right anterior (mean difference = – 3.4±3.1 cm; p < 0.001), left anterior (mean difference = – 3.9±3.6 cm; p < 0.001), right posterolateral (mean difference = – 6.9±6.1 cm; p < 0.001), left posterolateral (mean difference = – 5.3±5.5 cm; p < 0.001), right posteromedial (mean difference = – 4.3±6.8 cm; p < 0.001), and left posteromedial (mean difference = – 4.0±6.8 cm; p < 0.001) reach directions. CONCLUSIONS: Firefighting PPE negatively influences dynamic balance. Proactive injury reduction strategies should be utilized in firefighters to mitigate the influence of PPE during work-related tasks.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Military Policemen and Firemen are professionals often involved in life-risking activities as well as duties demanding endurance and muscular strength. Nevertheless, their working conditions are rarely satisfactory. OBJECTIVE: To compare levels of physical activity and social, demographic and occupational factors between military policemen and firemen; factors that may impact their ability to efficiently and effectively accomplish their jobs. METHODS: This cross-sectional study was performed in Brazil with 127 local military personnel (67 policemen and 60 firemen). A sociodemographic questionnaire was applied together with the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), short version. RESULTS: It…was observed that the firemen participating in this study are 4 times more likely to be inactive than the policemen. However, policemen showed higher sociodemographic risk factors (less schooling and the higher number of children and workplaces) to work performance when compared to military firemen. CONCLUSION: It could be inferred that in relation to the firemen, policemen suffer from less favorable sociodemographic conditions and face major risk situations more frequently once they are directly involved with the public security of the States; on the other hand, both populations should be incentivized and offered systematized physical activity programs in their workplaces.
Keywords: Risk factors, public health, sedentary lifestyle