Product-Safety Engineering Textbook Now Available

A book by the Ergonomics & Safety Program’s Prof. Kenneth d’Entremont is now available from the publisher, McGraw Hill, and through many on-line retailers worldwide.

The book is titled Engineering Ethics and Design for Product Safety (DfPS) and could be the only text or professional book on the topic of product-safety engineering. The book presents an informed, yet unbiased, approach to designing safe products for consumers. The pivotal role of ethics is stressed to current and future design engineers working on products with the capability of injuring their users. The book covers both fundamental concepts and methods for application during DfPS where safe characteristics are designed into a product.

Years of industrial experience as a consulting engineer and later as manager of product-safety engineering for a large designer/manufacturer of hazardous products provided many insights and examples used in the book. A course at the University of Utah, ME EN 5150/6150, served as a mechanism for refining the curriculum which is also presented in the book. That book serves as a textbook for this course.

Among other things, the book and the course help the engineer, and others, answer the questions:

  • How does a priority differ from a value–and why does it matter?
  • Is it possible to teach ethics to engineering students and engineers?
  • To whom does the engineer owe allegiance?
  • When is a product “safe enough?
Prof. Adler guest lectures University of Utah Mechanical Engineering students on "Product Safety and Ethics."

Acting Chair of the US CPSC, Robert Adler, guest lectures product-safety students

Students in Prof. d’Entremont’s “Product-Safety Engineering and Engineering Ethics” course were privileged to hear a guest lecture by the Honorable Robert Adler, Commissioner and Acting Chair of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Commissioner Adler was faculty at the University of North Carolina where he taught law for twenty-two years prior to his time at the CPSC.

Prof. Adler lectured on the important topic of “Product Safety and Ethics” on Monday night. Many consider him to be the the preeminent voice for the American consumer today. His audience was a group of designer’s for some of tomorrow’s consumer products.

The Ergonomics & Safety Program and the Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (RMCOEH) wish to thank the Commissioner and his office staff for making this lecture possible and for their time.

E&S PADS Featured

The PADS (Portable Accessible Dock System) is highlighted in the Student Innovation at the U 2018, 11 Ways Students are Creating the Future…and How You Can Too.  This publication is produced by the University of Utah‘s Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute.

The PADS was developed by Ergonomics & Safety Program graduate student Nicholas Brown (MSME 2018) and Prof. Andrew S. Merryweather in conjunction with Dr. Jeffrey P. Rosenbluth, Medical Director of the Spinal Cord Injury Acute Rehabilitation Program at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center.

PADS is also discussed in the E&S Program’s Enabling Technology page.


2019 Winners of Dr. Paul S. Richards Safe Workplace Scholarships

The winners of the WCF Insurance Dr. Paul S. Richards Safe Workplace Scholarships have been announced.   Four graduate students in the Ergonomics & Safety Program are among those to have been awarded scholarships from this program for 2019.

These students are:

  • Mohammad Homayounpour
  • Roya Sabbagh Novin
  • Dorothy Taylor
  • Amir Yazdani

This scholarship program was originally started by WCF Insurance in 1997 to help facilitate the education and training of people committed to a career of keeping workplaces safe and protecting workers.  Scholarships are available in the the fields of: Occupational Medicine, Safety and Ergonomics, and Industrial Hygiene.

These scholarships will be awarded on April 17, 2019 at Noon at the Falls Event Center in Salt Lake City, UT.

NORA 2019

The University of Utah’s Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (RMCOEH) and Department of Mechanical Engineering will be holding the 17th Annual Regional National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Young/New Investigators Symposium.  

The goal of this conference is to assemble interested students (undergraduate and graduate) and young/new investigators from the region, as well as other interested parties, in a forum where NORA-related research can be presented and discussed in a non-threatening atmosphere. It is expected that, for many of the students who choose to present, it will be the first formal presentation of their research.

The NORA 2019 Conference will be held at the Officer’s Club 150 Fort Douglas Blvd, Salt Lake City, UT 84113 on April 18th & 19th.  Please visit the NORA 2019 website for the latest information.

There will be two special presentations this year at NORA.  The Opening Keynote Speaker is Sarah A. Felknor, DrPH.  Her talk is entitled Expanded Focus for Occupational Safety and Health and will start at 8:30 AM on April 18th.

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Dr. Felknor

At 8:30 AM on April 19th, the Dr. Paul S. Richards Endowed Distinguished Visiting Lectureship in Occupational Medicine will present Donald C. Sinclair, II, J.D., who will speak on The Role of the Epidemiological and Exposure Sciences in the Resolution of Medicolegal Disputes.

Mr. Sinclair, Esq.

The Richards Lecture is FREE and open to the public, however, registration is required. To register for this lecture ONLY, register for attendance with the “Richards Lecture Only” option at the NORA 2019 website.

TetraSki on NBC’s Today Show

The NBC News journalist Harry Smith traveled to Utah to film the TetraSki and tell the story of its development by the Tetradapt Team at the University of Utah.  His story aired Saturday on the TODAY SHOW on NBC television!

This story features Derek Sundquist, an inspiring athlete who endured a spinal cord injury several years ago, and who is now again skiing independently again thanks to the TetraSki.

Watch the Video.

The TetraSki was shown in an Ergonomics & Safety Program post on January 4, 2019 regarding Rehabilitation and Enabling Technology.

Moriah Henning at the Utah Conference for Undergraduate Research

Moriah Henning, a senior in Mechanical Engineering, presented a poster at the Utah Conference for Undergraduate Research (UCUR) at Weber State on Friday, February 22nd. The conference is modeled after the National Conference for Undergraduate Research and invites undergraduates from all disciplines to apply. It provides a great opportunity for undergraduates to share their work in a scholarly setting to other students, faculty, and community members from all over Utah.

Moriah completed two semesters of research under Dr. Andrew Merryweather on characterizing the open-source, 3D-printed, InMoov robotic hand as part of the the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). She analyzed the hand’s limitations and abilities through computer and physical testing to better understand improvements that could be made to the design. Presenting at UCUR gave her the opportunity to meet other undergraduate students doing research and to share her own research outside the lab.

Rooftop-Fall Protection

The U Capstone Rooftop-Fall Protection Team.
(From left to right: Kyle Somer, Gary Hsu, Zachary Zwahlen, Clancy Van Dyke, Hunter Bernstein, and Aimee Morgan.
Not pictured are Michel Goulet, Jeremiah Wangsgard, and Ken d’Entremont.)

Prof. Ken d’Entremont of the Ergonomics & Safety Program is advisor to a team of U Capstone students who are seeking to improve the safety of rooftop workers.  This is a group of six undergraduate Mechanical-Engineering students at the University of Utah.  As part of the U Capstone Program, these students participate in a two-semester course sequence in which they apply the design, analysis, and testing skills that they learned in their earlier courses.  Their aim is to design and test a simple and practical system for those people working on residential structures.  Although laws already exist that require fall-protection devices or systems for many rooftop workers, cost or inconvenience may keep employers and workers from using fall protection.

The team and their advisor are each grateful to Mr. Michel Goulet and Mr. Jeremiah Wangsgard of Petzl America for their technical support of this project.  Indeed, it was their concern for the safety of workers performing their jobs at elevation that was the genesis of this U Capstone Project.  They have taken the time to meet with the team at their training facility in Salt Lake City at several key points in the design and development stages of the project.  The project is now entering the testing stage and headed for completion at the end of the Spring Semester.

Construction workers and others at high risk of fall injury include roofers, solar-panel installers, satellite-dish installers, and wind-turbine technicians.  Yahoo! Finance recently showed a graphic of the fastest-growing job in each state.  Out of 50 states, thirteen had fastest-growing jobs that have high fall risks.

Each year, falls from elevation account for almost 39% of the almost 1000 construction-related deaths each year.  Rooftop falls make up 31% of all fall fatalities with the remainder distributed among falls from ladders, scaffolding, or other hazards.  Those working for small construction firms (fewer than 10 employees) make up over 60% of fall-related fatalities.  Hispanic workers are at an even-higher risk of deaths due to construction fall injuries.  (These numbers do not include slips, trips, and falls onto the same elevation.)