by: Marjorie Piechowski
"The UWM Center for Ergonomics has entered into a new collaboration with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Under the leadership of Arun Garg, Professor of Industrial Engineering, and Phyllis King, professor of Occupational Therapy, the Center has built a national reputation for its research on the use of ergonomics for the prevention of workplace injuries. A formal signing ceremony with OSHA was held in January, 2007. The first event sponsored by the new Alliance is a Safe Patient Handling Conference, to be held on April 20, 2007 at the Country Springs Hotel in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
Prof. Arun Garg
The new Alliance will enhance the Center’s efforts to provide expertise in ergonomics to develop and present training and education programs for health and safety professionals. In collaboration with OSHA, the Center also will provide information on the recognition and prevention of workplace hazards to employers and employees in industry. This Alliance is testimony to the important and timely work of Dr. Garg and his colleagues.
Dr. Garg and his interdisciplinary team established the Center three years ago, one of a few in the nation. The Center offers a Certificate in Ergonomics, taught by faculty from Occupational Therapy, Nursing and Industrial Engineering, and engages in collaborative research on ergonomics and health care. Research topics include the ergonomic design of products, workplace design, and prevention and alleviation of back, shoulder and other injuries among health professionals and factory workers.
Since 1988 Dr. Garg has conducted research on lifting analysis in manufacturing sites, where repetitious and inappropriate motions can lead to back, shoulder and other muscular injuries. He also studies lifting and patient handling in nursing homes, which can lead to back and other structural injuries for nurses’ aides and other staff. Nationally recognized for his research, Dr. Garg is the principal investigator of a recently renewed $1.5 million, multi-site grant from the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This three-year project studies a cohort of 600 workers from more than 15 industries to monitor upper limb disorders and their relationship to job-related physical risks. In addition to his UWM team, Dr. Garg’s collaborators include the University of Utah and the Medical College of Wisconsin.