ASSP Student Section – Recruitment Event

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!


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.

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.


National Biomechanics Day 2019

On April 13th we participated in our first NBD. National Biomechanics day is a celebration of biomechanics science for STEM and STEAM education. Groups from Mechanical Engineering, Kinesiology and Orthopedics hosted high school students, undergraduates and others from the community in an interactive demonstration of biomechanics. Thanks for all who made it possible, especially Jon, Dorothy, Mohammad, and Mitja! 

National Biomechanics Day

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.

Image result for sarah felknor cdc

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.

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.)

Community Outreach: Construction Safety through Fall Prevention

The Construction Trades Department faculty members at Granite Technical Institute (GTI), Mr. Anthony VanHorn (Carpentry) and Mr. Vaughn Nickerson (Electrical), pose with Prof. Ken d’Entremont
following an Ergonomics and Safety Program Community Outreach session on “Construction Safety through Falls Prevention” on January 23, 2019.  [Not shown, GTI’s Mr. Robert Cook (Plumbing).]

The Construction Trades Department of Granite Technical Institute (GTI) hosted Prof. Ken d’Entremont on January 23, 2019 for a Construction Safety Community Outreach session.

This day’s session was about preventing Falls by workers in the Construction Industry.

  • Each year almost 1000 workers die working in Construction with about 38% being from a fall.
  • Falls are the leading cause of death in the Construction Industry.
  • Falls are a major cause of non-fatal injury in the Construction Industry.
  • These fall fatalities include falls from roofs, ladders, scaffolding, and machinery.
  • Over 50% of these fall deaths are in companies employing fewer than 19 people.
  • Hispanic Construction workers face an increased risk (+28%) of fatal falls.

GTI‘s Construction Trades Department provides high-school students in Utah’s Granite School District with the opportunity to learn construction skills including Carpentry, Electrical, and Plumbing through hands-on experience.  Students in this department work on such projects as constructing trailers to be later used as classrooms in the school district.  Students perform the framing, roofing, interior finishing, electrical, HVAC, and all other tasks under the guidance of the Construction Trades faculty who are experienced, licensed contractors.


If you would like more information on Granite Technical Institute’s Construction Trades Department, please contact Mr. James Taylor, Director of Career and Technical Education (CTE).

Dr. Mitja Trkov and Fall-Prevention Awareness 2018 Events

On September 14th and 20th, Dr. Mitja Trkov attended the Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services Fall-Prevention Awareness events which were open to the general public.  Dr. Trkov shared fall-prevention tips and discussed Ergonomics & Safety Program research.  He was accompanied by Prof. Andrew Merryweather on the 14th and by Prof. Ken d’Entremont on the 20th.

Attendees were able to learn of simple ergonomic principles to help prevent the slip, trip, and fall of the aging population.  In addition, many of those attending were able to see dynamic pressure maps of their own feet in real-time using the E&S Program’s instrumented insoles as shown in the photograph below (September 20, 2018).

Dr. Mitja Trkov explains the foot-pressure map of instrumented shoe insoles to an attendee at the Salt Lake County Fall-Prevention Awareness Event (September 20, 2018).