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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: 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