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: https://www.coeh.berkeley.edu/20erc-webinars

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

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 & 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 Paul S. Richards-WCF Safe Workplace Scholarship

Four of our students were awarded with the Paul S. Richards Safe Workplace Scholarship this year. Our students are fortunate to have such incredible support from the community, and especially WCF Insurance (https://www.wcf.com/). The unwavering support of WCF and the Paul S. Richards Memorial Foundation inspires us to contribute to the safety profession and aspire to be more caring and concerned with the many individuals who work to keep our world turning.

Congratulations Mohammad, Amir, Roya and Dorothy!!

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.

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.

Moriah Henning at Research on Capitol Hill

Undergraduate researcher Moriah Henning was selected to present her work at the 19th Annual Research on Capitol Hill event on March 5th 2019. Moriah completed two semesters of research under Dr. Andrew Merryweather on characterizing the open-source, 3D-printed, InMoov robotic hand as part of 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.

U student researchers head to Capitol Hill