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?

Welcome Visiting Student

Thomas Starzinger is a medical engineering student from the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria. His supervisor from his home university is Prof. PD Dr. Thomas Haslwanter. He will be participating in the TetraSki project for the next 4 months. His primary focus is to develop additional safety features for the TetraSki.  The project will involve designing a roll over protection and improved seating system to allow skiers to safely push the technology to new limits. 

We are looking forward to working with Thomas over the next four months and welcome him to the Ergonomics and Safety Lab!

Merryweather & Mortensen Team up for Webinar 2019

Dr. Merryweather and Dr. Mortensen recently teamed up to present a webinar entitled “OpenSim as a Platform for Improving Quantitative Ergonomic Assessments”. This was presented as part of the NIOSH ERC Ergonomics Webinar Series.

The webinar provided a brief overview of OpenSim as a modeling platform to improve ergonomic risk assessment. Dr. Merryweather and Dr. Mortensen demonstrated how OpenSim agrees with other analytical methods, specifically RULA, and present scenarios where OpenSim can be used to evaluate task level risk, including how to account for worker specific risk factors (i.e. previous injury, muscle weakness and fatigue) in conjunction with other physical risk factors (i.e. posture, force, repetition, duration). Finally, a summary of some limitations and future work using OpenSim for ergonomic risk assessment was provided.

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.

Dr. Hejrati’s work collaborating with our laboratory published in IEEE transactions on neural systems and rehabilitation engineering

Dr. Babak Hejrati’s  work with Dr. Merryweather and Dr. Abbott under title of “Generating Arm-swing Trajectories in Real-time Using a Data-driven Model for Gait Rehabilitation with Self-selected Speed” published in IEEE transactions on neural systems and rehabilitation engineering. Laboratory of Ergonomics and Safety congratulates him for this achievement and also for joining faculty of Mechanical Engineering at University of Maine.

Prof. Merryweather and his colleagues awarded the 2017 IEA/Liberty Mutual Medal

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Prof. Merryweather and his colleagues awarded the IEA/Liberty Mutual Medal for a paper published in Journal of Ergonomics. The paper with title of “Relationships between job organizational factors, biomechanical and psychosocial exposures” is published by Stephen S. Bao, Jay M. Kapellusch, Andrew S. Merryweather, Mathew S. Thiese, Arun Garg, Kurt T. Hegmann & Barbara A. Silverstein.

The IEA/Liberty Mutual Award in Occupational Safety and Ergonomics was instituted in 1998. The award and a cash prize of US$ 10,000 recognizes outstanding original research leading to the reduction or mitigation of work-related injuries and/or to the advancement of theory, understanding, and development of occupational safety research.

Maggie Patterson and Dr. Hang Xu presented in GCMAS 2017

Maggie Patterson, an undergraduate member of laboratory presented in 2017 Gait and Clinical Movement Analysis Society annual conference with the title of “Using Motion Capture Techniques to Improve the Gait Therapy Options for Patients with Parkinson Disease”. Dr. Hang Xu, former PhD member of the Lab. also presented there with the title of “Vacuum Level Effects on Knee Contact Force for Unilateral Transtibial Amputee with Elevated Vacuum Suspension”.

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Mitja Trkov, PhD joined our team as a post-doctoral fellow

Mitja_ErgoLab_Utah_2015_08_28We are pleased to welcome Mitja Trkov, PhD to the Laboratory of Ergonomics and Safety. Mitja is a post-doctoral fellow in Mechanical Engineering at The University of Utah. He received his BSc in Ljubljana, Slovenia and his PhD at Rutgers University, NJ in 2007 and 2016, respectively. Prior to pursuing graduate studies he also worked in industry as an R&D engineer in a company that designed and manufactured carbon yachts.

His research interest lies at the intersection of biomechanics, mechatronics and injury prevention. The focus of his PhD dissertation was slip detection and fall prevention during human walking analyzed using the experimental and theoretical approaches. His research experiences includes biomechanical and tribological modeling and analyses, design and control of electro-mechanical devices, and modeling and control of dynamical systems for simulation-based and experimental studies. His work on slip detection was awarded a Best Student Paper Award at the 2015 Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics (AIM) conference.

He enjoys spending his spare time outdoors with his family, doing sports and traveling.