Work Vehicle Safety: Eliminating Hazardous Activities While Safely Improving Productivity

I’m grateful for the opportunity I had to present this work related to a highly underrepresented group of employees in the workforce. Field service workers deal with hazardous conditions and many work from a vehicle and in an uncontrolled environment. Some of our early work on this topic focused on studying pick-up truck beds that are upfit with tool storage systems, and the ergonomics and safety concerns on this matter.

The work was presented as part of the 2020 Education and Research Center Webinars that is a collaborative effort on behalf of each NIOSH ERC’s Continuing Education program. For more information and access to these free webinars, please visit the website:

A direct link to Dr. Merryweather’s Webinar is found here: Link to Webinar Page

Dorien Butter ASB 2020 Presentation

Despite decades of research into patient falls, falls and the injuries incurred continue to be a serious threat to patient safety. Fall rates continue to be unacceptably high. The purpose of this project is to increase the safety of a hospital room for patient mobility through patient-centric design.

This survey is a starting point to understanding and quantifying the effect object characteristics have on a patient’s safety and stability when used for support. Based on the results of the survey, the next step of my research is to quantify the relationship between height, resistance to movement, and type of grasp and how those three characteristics work together to provide stability to a frail individual. This will be done in a laboratory setting using motion capture.

Here is a 3-minute supplemental video explaining the results of the survey.

Do you think you qualify to take the survey? Read the consent document here, and follow this link to the survey:


Virtual SheTech

PhD candidate Dorothy Taylor and MS Student, Dorien Butter prepared a virtual workshop and introduction to “Our Bodies as Machines” in this year’s SheTech virtual summit (

COVID-19 Vehicle Testing Protection Device

As many others around the world, we have been playing a small part in the response to the global pandemic. When tasked with the goal of created a safer way to perform COVID-19 tests in vehicle test stations we developed a low cost portable screen to prevent droplet transmission and aerosol containment to protect healthcare employees. The system is comprised of 1″ PVC, a clear vinyl shield and shoulder length gloves. The shield has strip magnets to help adhere to the vehicle and is suspended from the frame to allow for easier access (ergonomics) and improved containment of any droplets or aerosols during the test. The adjustment comfortably accommodates all vehicles that can be safely accessed without leaving the ground (passenger cars and trucks).

If you would like more information, included a parts list and build plans (takes about 30 min to manufacture and assemble) please email us.

1U4U – Merryweather Teams Up with Colleagues

Alex Greenwald, an assistant professor of anthropology and curator of ethnography at the Natural History Museum of Utah put together a cross-campus team that will study the biomechanics of ancient runners using prehistoric footwear and experimental work. Volunteers will run on treadmills wearing sandals made of yucca fibers that replicate the footwear housed at the museum of natural history to generate predictions of use wear associated with running and walking.

Greenwald’s team includes Andrew Anderson, from the School of Medicine; David Carrier, from the College of Science; and Andrew Merryweather, from the College of Engineering. They will recreate the biomechanics of ancient human runners, in part, to better understand the prevalence of running among the ancestors of Diné and Puebloan peoples—both Native American populations in the southwestern United States.

Cross-campus teams build OneU research collaborations


Merryweather Recognized with 2020 Distinguished Faculty Service Award

Dr. Merryweather was recognized for making a positive impact on workplace safety and on the lives of those with complex disabilities. The 2020 Distinguished Faculty Service Award will recognize Dr. Merryweather at the Community Engaged Faculty REception for Community Engaged Learning and Scholarship and at the University Commencement. In addition, the Bennion Center will make a gift of $1000 to Tetradapt, a non-profit created to make the impossible possible for people living with complex injuries and disabilities.

Dr. Merryweather would like to thank all those who made this award possible and the many students and friends who engage in activities for the betterment of the community around us.


Students at Engineering Day Excited about Ergonomics

Dr. Merryweather and PhD Candidate Mohammad Homayounpour presented an overview of research in the Ergonomics and Safety Lab during the annual College of Engineering’s Engineering Day. Nearly 60 high school students and their families learned about ergonomics and participated in lab demonstrations for motion capture, balance, force generation and EMG. Here’s what some of our visitors were saying:

Merryweather and TetraSki Featured in University of Utah Magazine-Winter 2020

“It’s such an honor to work with visionary people like Dr. Jeffrey Rosenbluth. Through his forward thinking, nothing is impossible attitude and the hard work and creativity of many student engineers, we can realize the impossible. Thanks to all those who dedicate countless hours and efforts to developing technologies unmatched anywhere in the world.” – Dr. Andrew Merryweather


Ergonomics and Safety Represented at IMECE 2019

Prof. Merryweather and members of the Ergonomics and Safety Lab had a big presence at IMCEC 2019 ( Nearly 3000 attendees from around the world convened in Salt Lake to present research, network and associate with one another during the 4 day event. E&S presenters were: Dorien Butter, Sarvenaz Chaeibakhsh, Mohammad Homoyounpour, Jon Mortensen,  and Dorothy Taylor. Research projects presented were supported by AHRQ, NIOSH and NSF.

Presentation Titles

The Natural Sit-to-Stand-Walk of the Frail Technical Paper Publication. IMECE2019-11889 Dorothy Taylor, Andrew Merryweather, Jan Morse, Bob Wong, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, U T, United States

Subject-Specific Models of the Head and Neck for Reproducing Experimentally Obtained Head Impacts in OpenSim Technical Paper Publication. IMECE2019-11932 Jonathan Douglas Mortensen, Mohammad Homayounpour, Andrew Merryweather, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, United States

The Effect of Wearing Insoles on Lower Extremity Gait Kinematics of Adults During Activities of Daily Living Poster Presentation. IMECE2019-13839 Dorien Butter, Sarvenaz Chaeibakhsh, Andrew Merryweather, K. Bo Foreman, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, United States