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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: When one thinks of jobs with physical employment standards, the first thoughts typically center around firefighting, law enforcement, and military jobs. However, there are 100s of arduous jobs that exist in the public and private sectors that range from moderately demanding to strenuous. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 28% of the workforce in the United States performs physically demanding jobs that involve construction, machinery installation and repair, public safety, and other professions. OBJECTIVE: This paper provides a historical perspective of physical employment standards for hiring workers into these arduous jobs, how we arrived at…our current knowledge base, and the challenges faced today when determining and implementing physical employment standards. METHOD: This narrative review draws on evidence from 62 published sources. RESULTS: This paper focuses on the need for a multidisciplinary approach to identifying job requirements, the professions (e.g., medical, psychology, physiology) that underpin the methodologies, and the knowledge used by current researchers. Descriptions of test and cut score development, legal issues, and challenges for the future also are highlighted.
Keywords: Physical employment standards, physical test
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Physically demanding occupations such as the military, firefighting and law enforcement have adopted physical employment standards (PES). The intent of PES is to match the physical capacity of personnel with the physical demands of job tasks. Inadequate physical capacity can affect occupational task performance as well musculoskeletal injury (MSKI) risk. OBJECTIVE: To present contemporary evidence on the relationship(s) between PES, physical training, physical capacity and MSKI in physically demanding occupations, and provide recommendations regarding physical training for improved occupational performance and reduced MSKI risk. METHODS: This narrative review draws on evidence from 104 published sources.…RESULTS: Physical training is central to the development and maintenance of occupationally-relevant physical capacity, as well as mitigating MSKI risk associated with job performance. In addition, given the prevalence of manual handling tasks, strength training needs to be emphasised in physical training regimen. CONCLUSIONS: PES development can inform both physical training and injury prevention strategies in physically demanding occupations. Furthermore, a physical performance continuum is essential to through-career maintenance of occupational performance and health, and the preservation of organisational capability. Finally, organisations should consider the potential to implement PES as maximal performance tests to better understand the relationship between occupational task performance and MSKI risk.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: If current population and health trends continue, workplace demographics will look significantly different by the turn of the century. Organizations will no longer have a steady pipeline of younger workers and will likely need to rely on older workers to remain competitive in the global marketplace. The future multi-generational workforce will bring with it the challenge of maximizing contributions from each generation whilst at the same time addressing the health, safety and wellbeing needs of all workers. OBJECTIVE: This review provides an insight into aging and older workers, and presents recommendations to promote worker longevity.…METHODS: This narrative review draws on evidence from 108 published sources. RESULTS: The relationship between age and work is not simple; factors including the physical nature of the job and worker’s health and fitness interact with age to either increase or decrease the potential effect of age. Evidence suggests that the issues arising from an aging workforce can be managed through polices that focus on active aging through: attitude management; flexible working and the provision of occupational health. CONCLUSION: The integration of such interventions would require company and organizational commitment from the top down with educational programs at all levels to ensure understanding and participation.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The roles of the emergency services are challenging and often physically demanding. Readiness to meet these challenges and demands is a fundamental requirement for staff to deliver their roles safely and effectively. Furthermore, employers are required by law to demonstrate every reasonable effort to protect their staff from undue risk of work-related injury. Implementing Physical Employment Standards (PES) enables employers to assign staff to roles for which they are physically-suited whilst contributing to such duty-of-care. However, for PES to be successful and legally-defendable, standards must reflect the demands of those job-tasks which are truly critical to the readiness…of these services. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether a standardised approach to identifying critical job-tasks exists in the development of PES for the emergency services. METHODS: Studies which conducted analysis of job-tasks to develop PES within the emergency services were reviewed. RESULTS: Forty-two reported studies (i.e. records) met the inclusion criteria. Methods to determine job-tasks varied but were typically criteria-based incorporating one, or all, of 9 reported techniques. Methods were subjective and based upon reference to past or present job-task performance. CONCLUSION: Correctly determining critical job-tasks is essential for effective, legally-defendable PES. A standardised method to define job-tasks remains to be established.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: To establish whether an organization has a valid Physical Employment Standard (PES), it is important to determine those aspects of the job that are critical to operational success. OBJECTIVE: To determine the tasks of the Offshore Wind Industry (OWI) and whether the ability to undertake these tasks is adequately assessed. METHODS: The task analysis was completed through: observations; the research team undertaking tasks; reviewing operational manuals; and focus groups. In addition, a review of existing PES for the OWI was completed to determine whether standards matched with the results of the task analysis.…RESULTS: Five critical tasks were identified: transfer from the vessel to the Transition Piece; ascent of the internal ladder; manoeuvre through hatches; torque and tensioning; and hauling a casualty up the tower. With the exception of aerobic capacity, the physical components required by Technicians are not assessed by the current medical standards, nor are these assessments standardized across companies. CONCLUSIONS: The Job Task Analysis undertaken can be used to inform decisions regarding the physical fitness requirements (selection), assessments and training of Technicians, with a view to ensuring that they are physically capable of undertaking the critical tasks without undue risk of injury to themselves or others.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The National Ambulance Resilience Unit (NARU) works on behalf of each National Health Service (NHS) Ambulance Trust in England to strengthen national resilience and improve patient outcome in challenging pre-hospital scenarios. OBJECTIVE: To conduct a Job Task Analysis and describe the physical demands of NARU roles. METHODS: A focus group was conducted to describe the physically demanding tasks performed by NARU personnel. Subsequently, the physical demands of the identified tasks were measured in 34 NARU personnel (29 male and 5 female). RESULTS: Eleven criterion tasks were identified; Swift Water Rescue (SWR), Re-board Inflatable…Boat (RBIB), Set up Decontamination Tent (SDT), Clinical Decontamination (CD), Movement in Gas Tight Suits (MGTS), Marauding Terrorist Fire Arms (MTFA), Over Ground Rescue (OGR), Unload Incidence Response Unit Vehicle (UIRUV), Above Ground Rescue (AGR), Over Rubble Rescue (ORR) and Subterranean Rescue (SR). The greatest cardiovascular strain was measured during SWR, MGTS, and MTFA. The most thermally challenging tasks were the MTFA, CD, SR and OGR. The greatest muscular strength requirements were during MTFA and OGR. CONCLUSIONS: All five components of fitness (aerobic endurance, anaerobic endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance and mobility) were required for successful completion of the physically demanding tasks performed by NARU personnel.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Given the physical demands of mining and rescue operations, a physical employment standard was warranted to ensure capable workers are selected. While evaluations of muscular strength and muscular and cardiorespiratory endurance domains are common, assessment of a worker’s ability to meet the physically demanding postural requirements is often neglected. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this investigation was to develop a valid assessment for NSW Mines Rescue Brigadesmen that replicated the combined muscular and cardiorespiratory endurance and postural demands of constructing a timber pillar. METHODS: Oxygen consumption () V ̇ O2 ) was…measured and dominant postures identified when incumbent Brigadesmen constructed a timber pillar. A shelf-stacking assessment was designed and validated. RESULTS: When Brigadesmen performed the block placement role, the task elicited a mean V ̇ O2 of 1.6 L.min–1 , and required repeated placement of ∼8.7 kg blocks from 0 to 3.0 m. A shelf stacking assessment (5 min, mean V ̇ O2 1.7 L.min–1 ) replicating dominant postures and requiring repeated block placement at 0, 0.65, 1.10, 1.64 and 2.20 m was developed. The demand of the test, performed within a discontinuous circuit, was subsequently verified (1.6 L.min–1 ). CONCLUSIONS: A valid, physiological aptitude test that considered the job-related movement patterns, in addition to cardiorespiratory and muscular endurance requirements, was developed for Brigadesmen.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Beginning in 2017, successfully passing the four-part pre-enlistment Occupational Physical Assessment Test (OPAT) became a requirement for all U.S. Army recruits. To ensure the test accurately identifies individuals who are qualified for their job, it was necessary to examine classification errors. OBJECTIVE: The objectives were to 1) determine the accuracy of OPAT cut-scores for combat arms Soldiers, and 2) determine which events contribute to the individuals that are misclassified as passing or failing the OPAT METHODS: A total of 741 trainees were tested on the OPAT within two weeks of entering their initial entry training.…At the end of their training, trainees were tested on simulations of the most physically demanding tasks of their job. RESULTS: There was a high classification concordance (76.5%) between success on the OPAT and job task simulations. False positives (6.7%) were misclassified because they did not perform as well on the strength-dominant task simulations. While the interval aerobic run was the greatest contributor to false negatives (16.8%), previous studies indicated high performance on this event as a potential key indicator of injury and attrition risk. CONCLUSIONS: The findings provide insight on how the accuracy of the OPAT, and similar pre-employment tests, could be improved.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: To assess the post-implementation impact of the Canadian Type 1 Wildland Fire Fighter (WFF) Fitness Test Circuit (WFX-FIT), a retrospective descriptive analysis of anonymized aggregate data collected between 2012–2016 was conducted. OBJECTIVES: The objectives were to examine the pass rates of Type 1 WFF in each fire jurisdiction and on the standard for exchanging Type 1 WFF between agencies, the interagency exchange standard, by age group and sex and to propose what other information could be of value in assessing the effectiveness of implementing a physical employment standard. METHODS: Frequencies and pass rate percentages were…compared by sex and age groups (<40 years, ≥40 years). RESULTS: Between 2012–2016, pass rates for all participants on the jurisdictional and interagency exchange performance standards improved from 93.2% to 95.6% and 79.1% to 87.6%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that since the WFX-FIT was implemented, there has been an increase in the number of exchange-eligible Type 1 WFF for suppression of wildfires in Canada.
Keywords: Type 1 WFF, initial attack, BFOR, job readiness, fitness