Center uses engineering principles to minimize worker injuries

Contact: Maridith Geuder

A new collaborative research center at Mississippi State University is working to reduce the personal and financial loss associated with worker injuries by applying ergonomic design principles to the workplace.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Ergonomics is a joint effort with Texas A&M University. It is the only NSF-supported center of its type in the United States.

Ergonomics is "the study of human capabilities and human performance in designing consumer products, tools and equipment," said MSU's Lesia Crumpton, an associate professor of industrial engineering.

Crumpton, along with Jerry Congleton, head of Texas A&M's safety engineering program, co-direct the program. United Postal Service, Browning-Ferris Industries, IBM, and Texas Instruments already are partners in the center's research efforts.

"We are seeking additional industrial partners to help us identify and solve problems," said Crumpton, observing that worker injuries cost American industry billions of dollars annually.

"Our researchers are able to provide assistance on a variety of issues," she said. "These include the minimization of injuries among aging employees, the reduction of back injuries in industrial settings and the design of effective workplaces to reduce the risks of carpal tunnel syndrome, among others."

In addition to reducing injuries, the center also focuses on ergonomic designs to improve operator efficiency and worker productivity.

"We also want to provide suggestions for how to prevent problems before they occur," said Crumpton, who also heads MSU's Ergonomics Laboratory in Human Factors Engineering.

Businesses or industries interested in learning more about the center may contact Crumpton at (601) 325-8952 or by e-mail at crumpton@engr.msstate.edu.

Wed, 06/24/1998 - 05:00