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BWC funding workplace safety research at Ohio University

COLUMBUS-- The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) and Ohio Board of Regents today announced Ohio University (OU) has been awarded a $245,000 research grant to improve workplace safety. OU 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.

The OU College of Engineering and Technology will receive $244,981 to measure the impact of integrating safety and ergonomics into lean and six sigma processes already in place at manufacturing companies in Ohio.

"I'm very excited because companies are looking for ways to leverage their ongoing activities in order to produce safer and more efficient workplaces," said Diana J. Schwerha, PhD, Associate Professor at Ohio University. "We feel very fortunate to have this opportunity to work with companies across the state on this project, and are thankful to the BWC for this opportunity."

"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 the Ohio State 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

Slips, trips and falls in the wholesale and construction industries, Case Western Reserve University, $249,975

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

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. 

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