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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: Due to the growth of information in the urban rail environment, there is a need to better understand the ergonomics profile underpinning visual behaviour in the substantive train driver. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to examine the tasks and activities of urban/metropolitan passenger train drivers in order to better understand the nature of the visual demands in their task activities. METHODS: Data were collected from 34 passenger train drivers in four different Australian states.…The research approach used a novel participative ergonomics methodology that fused interviews and observations with generative tools. Data analysis was conducted thematically. RESULTS: Results suggested participants did not so much drive their trains, as manage the intensity of visually demanding work held in their environment. The density of this information and the opacity of the task, invoked an ergonomics profile more closely aligned with diagnostic and error detection than actual train regulation. CONCLUSIONS: The paper discusses the relative proportion of strategies corresponding with specific tasks, the visual-perceptual load in substantive activities, and the requisite visual skills behoving navigation in the urban rail environment. These findings provide the basis for developing measures of complexity to further specify the visual demands in passenger train driving.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: It is well established that environmental factors can have impact upon an injured person's recovery and return-to-work outcomes. To date, there has been no cohesive model to provide theoretical understanding of the way in which these divergent factors combine to create disability behaviours. OBJECT: Development of a conceptual model for understanding the development of disability behavior. METHODS: Interpolation from existing neuroplasticity theory to observed behaviors and studies of behavior in the…workers' compensation environment, including existing research concerning predictors for disability. RESULTS: The paper describes a conceptual model for understanding instances of disability that are not necessarily attributable to physical harm. Preliminary testing provides support for the model. CONCLUSIONS: Factors that contribute to the formation of a neural network supporting the behavior of learned disability are described. From that description, intervention methods to prevent or resolve so-called "needless disability" are discussed.
Keywords: Neuroplasticity, disability management, return to work
vol. Preprint, no. Preprint, pp. 1-12, 2013
Abstract: BACKGROUND: There is a significantly high rate of work-related musculsokeletal injuries in sonography professionals. To date, assessment of risk factors for work- related injuries in sonographers has been based primarily on surveys, subjective reports, and observational methods. There is a need to develop quantitative techniques to better understand risk factors and develop preventive interventions. OBJECTIVE: We pilot tested a high-resolution force-measuring probe capable of precisely measuring forces applied through the transducer by sonographers and used this novel direct measurement technique to evaluate forces during abdominal imaging. METHODS: Twelve sonographers with varied experience, ranging from 1–33 years,…performed routine abdominal scans on 10 healthy volunteers who had varied body mass indices (BMI). Imaging was conducted using the force-measuring probe, which provided real-time measurement of forces, and angles. Data were compared by sonographer years of experience and subject BMI. RESULTS: In total, 47 abdominal examinations were performed as part of this study, and all images met standards for clinical diagnostic quality. The mean contact force applied across all exams was 8.2±4.3 Newtons (N) (range: 1.2–36.5 N). For subjects in the high BMI group (BMI>25, n = 4) the mean force was 10.5 N (range: 8.9–13.2 N) compared to 7.9 N (range: 5.9–10.9 N) for subjects with normal BMI (BMI = 18.5–25, n = 6). Similarly, the mean maximum force applied for subjects with high BMI (25.3 N) was significantly higher than force applied for subjects with normal BMI (17.4 N). No significant difference was noted in the amount of force applied by sonographers with more than 5 years of experience (n = 6) at 8.2 N (Range: 5.1–10.0 N) compared to less experienced sonographers (n = 6), whose forces averaged 8.1 N (Range: 5.8–10.0 N). CONCLUSIONS: It is feasible to directly measure forces applied by sonographers using a high-resolution force measurement system. Forces applied during abdominal imaging vary widely, are significantly higher when scanning subjects with high BMI, and are not related to sonographer years of experience. This force measurement system has the potential to provide an additional quantitative data point to explore the impact of applied forces on sonographer related musculoskeletal injury, particularly in conjunction with various body positions, exam types and force durations.
Keywords: Ergonomics, ultrasound, sonographers, injury, force measurement, work-related injury
vol. Preprint, no. Preprint, pp. 1-7, 2017
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Work-related fatigue is common among automobile factory employees. OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to assess fatigue of employees at a Chinese automobile factory. METHODS: 238 employees (119 engineers and 119 workers) participated in this study. The following questionnaires were completed: demographic survey questionnaire, working condition questionnaire (WCQ), functional assessment of chronic illness therapy-fatigue (FACIT-F), subscales of multidimensional fatigue inventory (MFI), and Pittsburgh sleep quality index (PSQI). RESULTS: Both engineers and workers experienced fatigue. The workers (35.6 years old, SD = 6.7) generally felt more fatigue than engineers (42.6 years old, SD = 6.4). The engineers…claimed to be more satisfied with the working conditions than workers. The WCQ showed good properties for assessing work-related factors, which were significantly correlated with fatigue (r = 0.568 for engineers and r = 0.639 for workers). For engineers, general fatigue was observed regularly and frequently, and for workers, physical fatigue usually had a long duration. CONCLUSIONS: The fatigue was significantly correlated with work-related factors, especially working environment and monotony. For workers, the duration of the work day also affected their fatigue. Some improvements to the working condition in this automobile factory should be considered.
Keywords: Occupational fatigue, working conditions, engineers and workers, monotonous task
vol. Preprint, no. Preprint, pp. 1-8, 2017
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Given the global nature of schoolbag carriage, there has been extensive research on schoolbag weight and use with resultant guidance on many aspects of carrying a schoolbag. However, there is limited evidence of knowledge translation or parents’ awareness of schoolbag carriage. OBJECTIVE: This study investigated parental awareness of factors related to schoolbag carriage. METHOD: A cross-sectional survey using an anonymous 30-item questionnaire and purposive sampling was used. Questionnaires were distributed to parents of primary school children through the schools. Descriptive statistics of frequencies and percentages were used and associations were tested using Chi-square analysis in…SPSS v23. RESULTS: A total of 700 parents in Ireland (Ire) and the United States (US) participated in the study (n = 444 [Ire] and n = 256 [US]). Generally, parents had satisfactory awareness of appropriate schoolbag type and carriage. The majority of children owned a backpack (89.9% [Ire] vs. 93.7% [US]), although fewer parents considered this to be the most suitable bag for their child (69.6% [Ire] vs. 88.2% [US]). More Irish parents (29.2%) favoured a wheeled schoolbag compared to US parents (6.2%) (p < 0.001). The majority (70.8% [Ire] vs. 55.7% [US]) wanted more information. The preferred platforms for receiving information were a handout (78.1% [Ire] vs. 71.6% [US]) and on-line (44.6% [Ire] vs. 53.9% [US]). CONCLUSIONS: Despite gaps identified, parents had good awareness of factors relating to schoolbag carriage, but this study shows that they would like more information. The preferred platform for knowledge translation was a handout. Parents are the best advocates for safety promotion and represent the group most likely to improve schoolbag carriage among children.
Keywords: Schoolbag, parents, awareness
vol. Preprint, no. Preprint, pp. 1-9, 2017
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Manual material handling (MMH) task is the most common cause of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Operators carrying unstable loads were recently shown to be at greater risk of back injury compared to workers carrying stable loads. OBJECTIVE: This study focused on developing a device to minimize trunk muscle activity and cardiovascular demand while handling a 19-liter bottle. METHOD: After evaluating several designs, one was selected to be developed, manufactured and tested through an experimental study. Healthy participants (n = 42) manually carried a 19-liter bottle. The carrying technique (i.e., carrying a lateral load while holding the…load using the dominant hand, pulling the load using the developed device, carrying the load on the back using the developing device) was the independent variable. The muscular activities (e.g., neck extensor, upper trapezius, pectoralis major, deltoid medial, rectus abdominis, and erector spinae muscles of the dominant side), cardiac costs, plantar pressures, walking speeds, and subjective measures were the dependent variables. RESULTS: Results show that carrying the developed device like a backpack significantly reduced trunk muscle activity, cardiovascular demand, and plantar pressure compared to the usual practice. The present results suggest that carrying a 19-liter water bottle using the developed device is likely to contribute to lower MSDs. CONCLUSION: Implementation of the develop device recommended to lessen the risk of injury when handling unstable loads such as liquids.
Keywords: Manual handling, human factors, ergonomic, intervention, health and safety
vol. Preprint, no. Preprint, pp. 1-11, 2017
Abstract: BACKGROUND: For several years, the transportation industry has been concerned about a severe shortage of professional truck drivers. Studies investigating the reasons found that poor working conditions and stresses and strains resulting from physiological and psychological job demands have had a negative impact on drivers’ health and ability to work. Nevertheless, until now, most employers have refrained from offering measures to support the work ability and well-being of drivers, mainly due to financial pressures in the industry. OBJECTIVE: The present study was aimed at designing adequate and affordable measures to support drivers’ health. METHOD: With reference…to the Work Ability Index and the house of work ability (Ilmarinen & Tuomi, 2004), 56 truck drivers participated in guided interviews about their working conditions and health-related problems as well as their attitudes, experiences, and desires with respect to being offered supportive measures by their employers. RESULTS: The measures derived are specific and realizable and expected to be widely accepted by professional drivers. They are designed to elicit a positive attitude in the drivers toward exercising and to help them overcome related psychological barriers. CONCLUSION: The implementation of the recommended measures can be expected to support drivers’ work ability and help reduce the frictional costs of their employers.
Keywords: Staff turnover, corporate health promotion, occupational health, working conditions, work ability index
vol. Preprint, no. Preprint, pp. 1-15, 2017
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Labour market participation (LMP) represents a key goal of rehabilitation for individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). To achieve this goal, Swiss SCI rehabilitation centres seek, together with their clients, viable follow-up solutions for returning to work after initial rehabilitation. However, the long-term outcomes of such vocational follow-up solutions have not been investigated so far, and there is a paucity of knowledge regarding the various types of employment pathways that persons with SCI living in Switzerland may experience. OBJECTIVE: To examine long-term employment pathways as experienced by individuals with SCI living in Switzerland. METHODS: A…qualitative descriptive study design involving narrative interviews with individuals who completed vocational rehabilitation (VR) during their initial rehabilitation. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, and data analysed using an inductive thematic analysis approach. RESULTS: The analysis of the 15 interviews revealed four employment pathways: the pathway of no paid work, the pathway of retraining, the pathway of job adaptation and the pathway of continuing work. CONCLUSIONS: Apart from three pathways leading towards paid employment, our results revealed one pathway that was characterized by permanent unemployment. Individuals facing a pathway of no paid work may benefit from more custom-made vocational follow-up solutions and prolonged job coaching after initial VR.
Keywords: Return to work, paid employment, labour market participation, vocational rehabilitation
vol. Preprint, no. Preprint, pp. 1-12, 2017