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For immediate release: March 5, 2015

BWC funding workplace safety research at Case Western, Cleveland State

BWC awards research grants to fund nine projects across the state

COLUMBUS - The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) and Ohio Board of Regents today announced the Case Western University and Cleveland State University have been awarded grants totaling more than $740,000 to improve workplace safety. The universities are two of six higher education institutions in Ohio selected for $2 million in funding for nine research proposals.

"While workplace safety and accident prevention have long been part of our mission at BWC, we are pleased to now champion research in the area of occupational safety and health research," said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. "We are excited to partner with some of the finest academic institutions in Ohio to support research that could shift thinking on current workplace safety practices and introduce innovative approaches to preventing injuries and illnesses among Ohio's workforce."

BWC created the research grant program as a part of the Another Billion Back plan that returned $1 billion to Ohio public and private employers last summer. The program is designed to support advanced research and promote innovation in the areas of workplace safety and health. BWC's Division of Safety and Hygiene, assisted by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, scored applications and selected nine proposals. The Board of Regents assisted BWC in writing the program guidelines and soliciting proposals from universities.

The grants will fund three research projects:

  • The Case Western School of Engineering will receive $249,975.00 to study the prevention of injuries in the construction, wholesale, and retail industries workspaces using wearable computer technology.
  • The Case Western School of Medicine will receive $250,000.00 to study the development of a Total Worker HealthTM approach to addressing the challenges of wellness and safety for low-wage workers.
  • The Cleveland State University College of Science and Health Professions will receive $243,948.00 to study safe patient handling among nursing aides in nursing homes.
"The funding provided through the Ohio BWC research program will be catalytic in forwarding our research which is aimed at testing pragmatic approaches to addressing the social determinants of health and impact of poverty on total worker health," said Heidi Gullett, MD, MPH, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

"This grant will help the faculty from four disciplines at Cleveland State University develop an innovative approach to prevention of back injuries among State Tested Nursing Assistants," said Glenn Goodman, Ph.D., OTR/L at Cleveland State University. "We will study the effectiveness of a comprehensive program to increase workplace safety for health care workers who perform patient handling tasks such as transferring a patient out of bed into a wheelchair."

"It is wonderful to see Ohio's colleges and universities as research grant recipients," said Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor John Carey. "It speaks well to the work they are already doing, and this new research will make great strides toward keeping Ohio's workforce healthy."

Other higher education institutions selected for funding include the Ohio State University, Bowling Green State University, the University of Cincinnati and Ohio University. The projects cover a variety of topics, including:
  • Standards and guidelines for pushing and pulling, Ohio State University, $249,268.89
  • Standards and guidelines for torque wrenches, Ohio State University, $248,931
  • Safety for workers in grain bin operations, Ohio State University, $79,396
  • Safe patient handling in long-term care facilities, University of Cincinnati, $249,999.67
  • Preventing injury, assault, and abuse of nurse aides working in long-term residential settings, Bowling Green State University, $249,999
  • Safety and Six Sigma, Ohio University, $244,981

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