Despite the many challenges being faced around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, incredibly talented students continue to immerge and pursue graduate studies at the University of Utah in the Ergonomics and Safety Program. This is the first time since closures happened in March of 2020 that our group has been physically together at once. Sadly, we are still missing 4 of our valuable lab members from this picture because of various circumstances, so it’s not perfect, but it’s a start!
I’m so grateful for each of my students, their efforts, their support and of course, their patience with me as their faculty advisor.
Roya was honored for being selected as the Outstanding Graduate Student Researcher of the Year in Design, Ergonomics, Manufacturing and Systems group in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Roya is currently employed as a Behavior Planning Software Engineer at Embark Trucks. Congratulations Roya! We miss you!
Members of the UU Student Section of the American Society of Safety Professionals actively engaged in the fall student recruitment event (Get Involved Fair) with other clubs and organizations on campus. Overall, the event was a success with the recruitment of new members to our organization. Congratulations for a job well done!
Congratulations to Alex, Scott and Nick (unavailable for picture) for being awarded with 2021 Paul S. Richards Safety Workplace Scholarships from WCF Mutual Insurance. Alex was asked to speak at the event and shared her love for outdoor recreation enthusiasts and her goals to provide better training and new methods to prevent MSDs among ski and snowboard instructors. We are grateful for the unwavering support of the safety and health community in the region, and recognize the generous donations of WCF Insurance and the Paul S. Richards Memorial Scholarship Fund.
One of our incredibly talented senior design team completing the Off-Road Pediatric Walker in December 2020. Despite many setbacks and challenges during a pandemic, the team designed, manufactured and tested the new walker add-ons to improve off-road mobility without compromising safety or usability.
To improve the user’s mobility, the team designed and manufactured interchangeable wheel hubs that can be easily installable on R82’s Crocodile walker. These hubs interface with wheel extensions that allow the walker to be quickly adapted to specific terrain. Additionally, the team replaced the Crocodile’s front casters with casters designed to house a larger, pneumatic wheel.
To ensure the user’s safety, the hub has an integrated braking and anti-rollback system that can be engaged by the user. Additionally, all the hub components can support the weight of any Crocodile user.
The team also designed and manufactured a lightweight hammock seat that is easily installable on the Crocodile. The seat does not interfere with the user’s experience when not in use, but can be easily engaged to comfortably support the user.
Grace, an active seven-year-old who loves playing soccer, has been using the team’s add-ons on her Crocodile walker. According to Grace’s father, the walker’s improved mobility will not only help her on the soccer field but will also allow her to participate in a variety of new outdoor activities.
Student Team Members: Chad Andersen, Morgan Barron, Reid Gardner, Jordy Osborne, Arthur Steur, and Rulon Stitzer
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?
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 (DECKED.com), 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: https://www.coeh.berkeley.edu/20erc-webinars
A direct link to Dr. Merryweather’s Webinar is found here: Link to Webinar Page
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!
Dr. Merryweather presented a webinar for NIOSH on April 10, 2019. Topic: Robotics and Workplace Safety and Health