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Ergonomics in the Workplace

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Musculoskeletal injuries sideline thousands of workers every year and cost organizations billions of dollars in lost time and workers' compensation costs. NASA is not immune to this concern — employees are experiencing work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders.

Although some risks have been around for years, such as those related to lifting and carrying materials and tasks that require constant repetition with the hands, the workplace is evolving. Increased use of technology, including computers and devices of all sizes, creates new ergonomic risks.

Guest speakers Dr. Jim McGlothlin, Dr. Jay Clasing and Camille Major will discuss current topics related to ergonomic programs from their perspectives as professionals in academia, government and industry. They also will answer questions such as

  • Are these injuries real?
  • What are organizations doing to address the risks?
  • Can we afford to address these injury risks across NASA?
  • Are all corrective actions for ergonomic issues expensive?
  • Are there resources out there to assist you with your program?
  • What are some best practices?

The following are summaries of each speaker's presentation:

McGlothlin, Purdue University professor of ergonomics, will give a presentation based on a recent American Industrial Hygiene Association white paper, which covers seven common ergonomic misconceptions. The discussion will focus on the misconceptions involving ergonomic injuries and provide responses to these misconceptions based on what research has shown.

Clasing, Army ergonomics program manager, will provide an overview of the Army's ergonomics program, one of the most complex and large ergonomics programs there is. The program has many dimensions as it aims to keep safe all Army personnel in a variety of job functions across the globe. Clasing also will discuss Army resources that could be leveraged by other organizations' ergonomic programs.

Major, certified behavior safety specialist and certified professional ergonomist, will discuss the challenge facing nearly every organization with employees sitting at computers — designing and implementing an effective office ergonomics program. Major will focus on best practices in office ergonomic programs from a private corporation perspective.

Dr. Jim McGlothlin

James D. McGlothlin is an Associate Professor of Industrial Hygiene and Ergonomics at Purdue University. Dr. McGlothlin research specializes in ergonomics, exposure assessment focusing on Video Exposure Monitoring), occupational hygiene, engineering controls, and epidemiology. He has been conducting research in the areas of molecular diagnostics and molecular epidemiology, and is the Director of www.MolecularHub.org, a portal dedicated to advancing the science of molecular diagnostics. Also, he is Director of the Graduate Program in Occupational and Environmental Sciences and the CDC/NIOSH Training Program Grant, and Co-Director of the Center for Virtual Reality of Healthcare Center Design at Purdue University. He received his BS/MPH/MS in Industrial Psychology/Chemistry; Epidemiology, and Environmental Health all from the University of Hawaii, Manoa, in 1975, and 1977, respectively.  He received his Ph.D. in Industrial Health specializing in Ergonomics from the Rackham School of Graduate Studies, at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1988. After 22 years of federal service, Dr. McGlothlin took an early retirement from the CDC/NIOSH on January 1st, 1999 and joined the School of Health Sciences at Purdue on January 3rd, 1999. Since that time to the present, Dr. McGlothlin has continued his research in ergonomics and in developing exposure assessment tools (called VEM tools) and applications in his laboratory: Purdue’s Exposure Assessment Research Laboratory (P.E.A.R.L.).

Dr. Jay Clasing

Dr. Jay Clasing is the Program Manager for the Ergonomics Program, Army Institute of Public Health. His program consists of 10 ergonomists located at Aberdeen Proving Ground, PHC-South, PHC-PAC and PHC-Europe in order to provide ergonomic consultation, assessment and education to protect U.S. service members and civilian employees from workplace musculoskeletal injuries.

Clasing received his Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from Colorado State University in 1996, a Master of Science in Healthcare Management from Touro University in 2005, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech in 2012. He received his Army commission through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at Colorado State University in 1996.

After completing the basic course, Clasing was assigned to Madigan Army Medical Center as a staff therapist. From there, he went to the 98th Combat Stress Control (CSC) Unit in the 62nd Medical Brigade at Fort Lewis where he served as the Chief, Occupational Therapy as well as the Executive Officer. After leaving the 98th CSC, he was transferred to Walter Reed Army Medical Center where he served as the Chief of Upper extremity rehabilitation and then Internship Director for the U.S. Army Occupational Therapy Internship program. After leaving Walter Reed, he was deployed to OIF 1 where he served as a Clinical Operations Officer with the 30th Medical Brigade in Balad and Baghdad, Iraq. After completion of his deployment, he became the Chief of the Occupational Therapy clinic in Heidelberg, Germany. He was then transferred to Brooke Army Medical Center, where he served as the Assistant Chief of Occupational Therapy and the Chief of Occupational Therapy at the Center for the Intrepid, an Army Center of Excellence for Amputee services. Clasing was then accepted into the Long Term Civilian Health and Education program and attended Virginia Tech where he completed his doctorate in Industrial and Systems Engineering in 2012. He was then transferred to the Army Institute of Public Health and is currently the Ergonomics Program Manager.

Clasing is currently a licensed and board certified Occupational Therapist and Certified Professional Ergonomist, and is a member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. He also is a sub-TAG chair for the Department of Defense Human Factors Technical Advisory Group (TAG) and a member of the Accredited Standards Committee S2, Mechanical Vibration and Shock and the US TAG to ISO/TC 108, Mechanical Vibration, Shock and Condition Monitoring.

Clasing is an adjunct faculty member at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and Baylor University.

Clasing’s research interests include the effects of ergonomics interventions in the office environment, medical arena and industrial settings.

Camille Major

Camille Major is a Certified Behavior Safety Specialist and a Certified Professional Ergonomist. Major is experienced at working with health, safety and engineering teams to identify risk in design and throughout the product and process life cycle. She is recognized by the National Safety Council as a Rising Star of Safety (2010) and received a NASA@Work challenge award (2013).

Major has applied her experience in safety and ergonomics to diverse industries such as healthcare, soft drink bottling, space, medical devices, automotive, defense, chemical plants, oil and gas, and more. Utilizing her Lean Manufacturing Six Sigma and virtual analysis skills, she has developed proactive safety and ergonomics programs and continues to seek innovative solutions to meet business needs.

Major has shared her experiences for 16 years at international and national conferences through presentations and publications. She is an avid volunteer for student-related events and currently serves on the Industrial Advisory Committee for the Texas A&M University, Rural College of Public Health.

Major holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering and a Master of Science degree in Human Engineering from the University of Central Florida, and a Master of Business Administration degree from Baker College. She is a member of the Leadership Texas Class of 2010 and the Institute of Industrial Engineers, as well as president of the Houston chapter of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

Ergonomics in the Workplace

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