What a waste
I am enjoying reading your website. It brings back many wonderful memories. We all valued so much the high quality research of the Liberty Mutual Research Institute, as nicely indicated in your Awards Section. We also valued your Workplace Safety Index, and always quoted its numbers illustrating the national cost burden of injuries. It was a shock to suddenly lose all of you. I hope the Liberty Mutual researchers are finding good research positions, which they greatly deserve.
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This website is a brilliant way to commemorate a unique working environment. Having worked in government, academia and industry, I have never found nor heard of a place where people were free to do their best work unencumbered by academic struggles for grants nor government bureaucracy. This call to remembrance of the mission of the Liberty Mutual Research Institute (www.libertymutualresearch.org) can give each of us a deep sense of pride and courage. May we all go forward with the knowledge of what a healthy, productive workplace looks and feels like. Thank you Dr. Tom Leamon for this commemoration.
I received an e-mail shortly after the LMRIS closed. It was from Dr. Jin Kezhi from Shanghai. Kezhi was one of the many pre-and-post-docs who went through the Liberty-Harvard Program in Occupational Safety. Kezhi wrote rather poignantly that he was “Kind of sad when I heard about the close of [the] LMRIS. That shiny pearl hidden in the Hopkinton woods will always be in my memory.” It will also be in many other peoples’ memories.
As someone who has been following the work of the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety for many years, I am very pleased to see its work documented and made available to those who are interested in this very important area of research. The amount and diversity of the activities that were conducted at the Institute over the years are impressive. I salute the talent and effort of the men and women who conducted this research. They should all be proud of their achievements.
Dr. S.A. Sherif
Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Founding Director Wayne K. and Lyla L. Masur HVAC Laboratory
Director UF Industrial Assessment Center (UF-IAC)
Director UF Mobile Energy Laboratory (UF-MEL)
Co-Director Southeastern Center for Industrial Energy Intensity Reduction (SECIEIR)
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
University of Florida
Thank you, LM, for providing the resources to improve health and safety in the workplace across the world through the Liberty Mutual Research Institute. However, I’m staggered to learn of its closure. I’m also puzzled by what might have stimulated such a move when the world needs more research in this vital area, not less. I applaud the acknowledgement the institution gave to researchers across the world. I was a principal researcher on the team that won the IEA/LM Medal for work we did in health and safety in the mining industry in NSW, Australia. The original report and all the work that has flowed from it can be found at: https://www.resourcesandenergy.nsw.gov.au/miners-and-explorers/safety-and-health/about-us/mine-safety-initiatives/digging-deeper. We investigated fatigue, incentive systems and consultative processes and their effects on worker health and safety and the management of health and safety. My best wishes to the staff of the institution for their futures.
Thanks for the excellent website. Your efforts in keeping LMRIS’s legacy and its contributions to health and safety are commendable!
Comment by Mike Wogalter
In my experience, the Institute was a comfortable and serious environment in which to conduct relevant scientific research. Ideas and potential solutions in the areas of safety and health were encouraged and discussed.
The concept and actuality of the Institute was unique and special. It enabled elite researchers to carry out targeted projects in areas of interest to them and importance to real world safety. The quality of the research was at least at the level of the research produced at the best universities and research institutions in the world, and it was measurable by successful peer reviewed publications that that the Institute promoted and engendered. Most universities do not have researchers who conduct relevant safety-research frequently due to lack of fit in existing departments. For this reason the Institute had applicative value beyond the mostly basic research fostered at universities.
My participation as a visiting scholar at the institute was during a sabbatical term (academic release) from North Carolina State University. My impression of the Institute from the beginning of my appointment there until the end was that it was a classy place. For example, the folks from the Institute helped me locate a nice furnished place to stay just outside Hopkinton, MA and provided a vehicle for me to use. One salient memory of the vehicle was that it had clearly been used for research experiments having sheaves of wires and connector plugs coming out of the dashboard and glove box areas.
While at the Institute, I mainly worked with Dr. Stephen L. Young. Previously, I had worked with Steve when he as an undergraduate research assistant in my lab when I was on the faculty at the University of Richmond. While at the Institute, Steve and I were very productive and accomplished state-of-the-art research, with which we continued to work past my return to NC State University. The research was subsequently published in peer-reviewed journals.
Additionally, several years later, I collaborated extensively with Dr. Mary Lesch, another researcher at the Institute. Through her leading role, we published several high quality research articles on older adults’ comprehension of safety symbols. Numerous other persons at the Institute encouraged collaborative efforts.
Personally, I enjoyed the collegiality at the Institute. I found that the researchers and staff there to be smart, dedicated and willing to exchange and discuss creative ideas. The experience working there was a positive chapter in my life. While the main work product was high quality research in safety, it was not simply basic academic (university-type) research. Everything was couched in applied terms so that it could be used to solve real-world problems as well as being useful in advancing scientific knowledge. The Institute’s goal was to bring research to reality and it did that quite well. It was unique place and it is a darned shame that it is no more
I learned a lot from the wonderful work by the Hopkinton Researchers: from the Ergonomics, the Transport Skid Pan, the Physiology work from Vince Cirello, the Repetitive Motion studies, the list is extensive. I was able to build a careen on the work of this fine team. I will be forever grateful. Carl Sharak
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