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For immediate release: March 5, 2015

BWC funding workplace safety research at OSU

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 Ohio State University (OSU) has been awarded three grants totaling $577,595 to improve workplace safety. OSU is one 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.

OSU will receive funding for three research projects:
  • The Department of Integrated Systems Engineering will receive $249,268.89 to study control of low back and shoulder disorders resulting from pushing and pulling activities.
  • The Department of Integrated Systems Engineering will receive $248,931 to study the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders of the upper extremities among torque tool operators.
  • The Agricultural Safety & Health Program will receive $79,396 to study the safety and health risks of stored grain facilities on Ohio farms.
"This funding will facilitate research efforts at The Ohio State University that will positively impact the health and safety of Ohio workers," said William S. Marras, Ph.D., Honda Chair Professor & Director, Spine Research Institute, Biodynamics Laboratory & COHAM Executive Director, Institute for Ergonomics Department of Integrated Systems Engineering at OSU. "We expect that these projects will not only save workers lives but will also greatly reduce the incidence of disabling injuries that affect both the quality of life for the worker as well as the ability of Ohio businesses to be competitive nationwide."

"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 Bowling Green State University, Case Western Reserve University, the University of Cincinnati, Cleveland State University and Ohio University. The projects cover a variety of topics, including:
  • Safe patient handling in long-term care facilities, University of Cincinnati, $249,999.67
  • Total worker health and wellness, Case Western Reserve University, $250,000
  • Safe patient handling among state tested nursing aides in nursing homes, Cleveland State University, $243,948
  • 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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