From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

ASSE Foundation And Liberty Mutual To Fund MSD Studies

Des Plaines, IL – The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) Foundation Research Committee and the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety announced on June 21 that they will fund two extensive studies aimed at helping prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

MSDs and the exposure to physical factors at work has been a key concern for businesses worldwide, according to the ASSE press release published in Safety Online. The term musculoskeletal disorders refer to conditions that involve the nerves, tendons, muscles, and supporting structures of the body and how they are affected by repetitive motion. The currently funded studies are part of the Liberty Mutual Safety Research Fellowship Program developed to enhance workplace safety through research and to provide occupational safety and health professionals with an opportunity to advance their knowledge. Two scholars, Waldemar Karwowski Ph.D., DCs, d.h.c., PE, CPE, and Nicole Gravina, have been selected for this program. Results of their research will be published in ASSE’s Professional Safety Journal.

Currently a professor and director of Industrial Ergonomics at the University of Louisville, KY, Karwowski focuses his investigations on how nonlinear movement of the shoulder during pushing and pulling (towards and away from the body) impacts human strength. He holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, along with doctor of science degrees obtained overseas. As an author of over 120 journal papers, he has had a prominent career in the science fields as both an author and editor of journal publications, while providing plenary addresses and lectures. He is also a Fulbright Scholar.

Gravina, who is a Ph.D. student, will extend the study from her master’s thesis, titled “The Effects of Self-Monitoring on Safe Postural Performance,” to further evaluate the effectiveness of different practices and techniques in order to improve postural safety. Gravina has merited the Western Michigan University (WMU) All-University Research and Creative Scholar and the Psychology Departmental Research awards. Her contribution to the field of safety includes journal publications, conference presentations, and professional consultation for Sindecuse Health Center at WMU and Pfizer Global Manufacturing.

The Liberty Mutual Safety Research Fellowship program promotes research in occupational safety, expands upon current safety practices, and creates the groundwork for fellows in applied safety research. Researchers spend the summer at the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety in Hopkinton, MA, where they have access to a state-of-the-art facility and resources to complete their research.

Applicants for the Liberty Mutual Safety Research Fellowship program must be U.S. citizens and possess a Ph.D. degree or be working towards a Master’s or Ph.D. degree. ASSE members and applicants enrolled in an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accredited safety program are given special consideration. Applications and guidelines for next year’s fellowships will be available at as of October 1, 2006.

Recognized throughout the world, the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety conducts original investigations into job-related accidents, injuries, and disability and publishes the results in peer-reviewed, scientific journals. Boston-based Liberty Mutual Group (LMG) is a leading global insurer and sixth largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. whose largest line of business is private passenger automobile based on 2004 direct written premium. LMG ( employs over 39,000 people in more than 900 offices throughout the world.

SOURCE: Safety Online/ASSE

This article originally appeared in The Ergonomics Report™ on 2006-06-29.