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NIOSH supported Education and Research Centers throughout the country are pleased to present the Ergonomics Webinar Series, offering free monthly webinars on various topics on Human Factors and Ergonomics. A collaborative effort on behalf of each ERC’s Continuing Education program, our goal is to provide access to current research supported through NIOSH ERC Programs.

Please note, Certificates of Completion are not available for this webinar series at this time, except when otherwise noted.

February 8, 2019

Cognitive ergonomics is a subfield of cognitive science especially concerned with the human task-oriented activity in terms of the perceptual, information-processing and psychomotor aspects of work. General models of cognitive task-oriented activity have been developed to account for the complexity of human behaviors produced in work situations, to explain erroneous action, and to conceptualize human-computer interaction. This webinar will present and discuss some of these models and how they have helped in improving the design of technologies, organizational environment and learning environments, as well as in decreasing human error. In addition to the major models and concepts utilized in the field of cognitive ergonomics, several methods based on user-centered design research will be described. These methods aim to collect and integrate data about the user needs and the requirements in the design of systems and organizations for a more successful transformation of the workplace and use of human-sensitive technology. They are very useful, especially today with the rapid growth of complex technological environments and the widespread introduction of information technologies to automate work processes.

Katia M. Costa-Black, PhD

Analysis of Work Tasks from a Cognitive Ergonomics Perspective: Concepts, Models, and Methods

March 20, 2019

Hotel room cleaners comprise of only 23.5% of the employees in their industry, yet have the greatest risk for
developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) based on psychosocial and physical risk factors. The overall injury
rate for this segment of workers is 1.5 times greater than that of all hotel workers studied. During this webinar,
learners will explore the research behind the first ergonomic standard specific to hotel room cleaners, the Hotel
Housekeeping Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Standard (Title 8 Section 3345), which was enacted by the Cal
OSHA Standards Board on July 1, 2018.

Carisa Harris, PhD, PT, CPE

From Practice to Policy: CA’s New Standard for Reducing MSDs Among Hotel Room Cleaners

April 17, 2019

This webinar will cover the causes, prevalence, and costs of whole body vibration related disorders. Learners will explore how whole body vibration exposures are measured, assessed, and characterized, and the role vehicle seats may play in reducing whole body vibration related injuries and disorders.

Pete Johnson, PhD

Vehicle Seat Design, Whole Body Vibration, and Low Back Pain

May 15, 2019

During this webinar, Dr. Bazragi will describe the theoretical framework utilized by his lab to investigate the role of lower back biomechanics in occupational low back pain. Learners will also explore the experimental and computational methods used for studying lower back biomechanics, and review examples of research conducted in the Human Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Lab at the University of Kentucky.

Babak Bazrgari, PhD

Mechanics of Human Lower Back and Occupational Low Back Pain

June 19, 2019

During this webinar, learners will be presented with working realities inside large-herd dairy milking parlors, contributing factors to the development of musculoskeletal disorders, and how direct measurement research techniques are being used to characterize ergonomic risk factors and evaluate interventions in these challenging working environments.

David I Douphrate, PhD, MPT, MBA, CPE, CSP and Nate Fethke, PhD, CPE

Large Herd Dairy Milking Parlors: Exposure Characterization & Intervention Analysis

July 17, 2019

During this webinar, learners will explore real-time monitoring of heat stress / strain among firefighters during live firefighting incidents through the use of wearable and indigestible sensors. Dr. Bhattacharya will describe his research in assessing heat stress associated changes in postural balance, occupations at risk of developing hypothermia, prediction of hyperthermia among firefighters, and controlling heat stress. 

Amit Bhattacharya, PhD, CPE

Assessing Heat Stress Associated Changes in Postural Balance Among Firefighters

August 21, 2019

This webinar will provide a brief overview of OpenSim as a modeling platform to improve ergonomic risk assessment. Dr. Merryweather will demonstrate 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 will be provided. 

Andrew Merryweather, PhD

OpenSim as a Platform for Improving Quantitative Ergonomic Assessments

September 18, 2019

During this webinar, learners will explore several lines of evidence that suggest fatigue failure of musculoskeletal tissues may be an important etiologic mechanism in the development of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Dr. Gallagher will demonstrate new MSD risk assessment tools based on fatigue failure theory, including the Lifting Fatigue Failure Tool (LiFFT), the Distal Upper Extremity Tool (DUET), and a new shoulder risk assessment tool (as yet unnamed). Future research needs in this area will also be discussed. 

 Sean Gallagher, PhD, CPE

The Fatigue Failure Approach for Ergonomic Assessment: Research Updates

October 23, 2019

During this webinar, learners will explore how prolonged, static, low-level muscle contractions can lead to long lasting, unperceived muscle fatigue. The likely responsible mechanisms that induce muscle fatigue in the lower leg muscles and neck muscle following prolonged standing or seated work will be presented. Interventions including work cycle, distribution of rest breaks, and muscle activities to disrupt monotonous and static working situations will be explored and contrasted to illustrate how fatigue may be reduced. 

Bernard Martin, PhD, Dr Es Science

Leg and Neck Muscle Fatigue: Illustration of Physiological Mechanisms that can Lead to MSDs

November 20, 2019

Patient migration is a major concern for patients and caregivers. For a patient, migration down the bed increases the risk for pressure ulcers. To mitigate this risk and to prevent patient heels from resting on the footboard, a caregiver will often reposition a patient back up in bed. Repositioning is the most dangerous patient transfer task and comprises the majority of low back injuries for nurses and nursing aides. Repositioning equipment can assist caregivers in repositioning and reduce risk of injury. 

Kermit Davis, PhD, CPE

A Patient Handling Story: From Patient Migration to Repositioning

NIOSH Education and Research Centers (ERCs) provide training and education to meet the demand for qualified safety and health professionals in the United States.  NIOSH funds 18 ERCs across the US, based at academic institutions, which provide occupational safety and health training and education to a range of students and professionals.  The goal is for the ERCs to provide interdisciplinary programs to increase knowledge and skills in OSH.

The ERC Continuing Education programs reach thousands of professionals each year.  The ERCs offer a diversity of courses that include webinars, in-depth hands-on training, and others to improve workplace safety and health.  Over the past several years, the Directors of the Continuing Education programs have looked for ways they can combine their institutional expertise to deliver training across the United States.

In 2018, the ERC Continuing Education directors developed a national assessment to identify the types of training needed by occupational safety and health professionals.  The needs assessment identified that training was needed in the areas of injury prevention (specifically related to back injuries), occupational stress, and musculoskeletal issues.  Musculoskeletal injuries are common in the workplace. The Bureau of Labor Statistics report that the incidence rate for musculoskeletal disorders in 2016 was 29.4 per 10,000 workers, compared to a rate of 2.9 for all injuries.  Certain industries, such as healthcare, have significantly higher rates of injury due to MSDs. The injury rate for MSDs in 2010 for nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants was 249 per 10,000 workers.

In response to this need, the ERC Continuing Education programs initiated the development of a webinar series on Human Factors and Ergonomics.  The series will provide an opportunity for professionals to learn more about human factors and ergonomics, and identify ways to reduce musculoskeletal injuries in the workplace.

The Human Factors and Ergonomics webinar series will share the latest research and expertise of our faculty with occupational safety and health students, professionals, and other who need more information on these topics.  The goal of these programs is to reduce musculoskeletal injuries, and improve the working conditions of workers across the US.