By design, there was a symbiotic relationship between the research and the loss prevention efforts of the 700 plus Loss prevention Consultants employed by Liberty to reduce the losses of the workers compensation customers. The working practices of this relationship developed over time from a personal interaction, through an established relationship to an integrated partnership in the latter period.
Key players in ensured this relationship prospered and delivered superior consulting services to Liberty’s WC customers included Ken Brock and Karl Jacobson who in turn had responsibilities for both functions and the dedicated team they charged with developing the customer service products which were unparalleled in the field. The original Loss Prevention Product Director group located in Hopkinton at the LMRIS reporting to Karl Jacobson from 2000 to 2009 included David Melton (Transportation), Ted Christensen (Construction), Stan Brubaker followed by Ted Braun (Manufacturing Technology), Scott Patterson followed by Mark Bresnahan (Training), David Money Technical Director-Transportation Training, Edward Stephenson (Industrial Hygiene) and Wayne Maynard, Ergonomics and Tribology
The people charged with bridging the gap between research and reality included George Brogmus
An attempt to describe the relationship, as it stood in 2002, was made during a presentation at the ASSE Annual Conference.
Research Institute for Safety and Loss Prevention Product Development
The Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety (LMRIS) has advanced the field of occupational safety and health since 1954. Through original scientific investigations, the Institute aimed to determine the causes of work-related accidents and injuries, identify appropriate interventions, and improve return-to-work outcomes. Equally, the Loss Prevention (LP) organization has used LMRIS research knowledge to develop products and tools for use with customers that support solutions to reduce risk and control loss. These research based products and tools were identified with the From Research to Reality™ logo.
Figure 1. Evidence Based Product Development
After 2006, the relationship between the Loss Prevention department (now called Risk Services) and the LMRIS was built on a process of Knowledge Transfer and Exchange (KTE). Knowledge Transfer was the one way process that connected research to practice i.e. the sharing of timely, useful, evidence based research with those who will apply that knowledge. The Exchange process was the two way part of the model i.e. the relationship between those who generated research knowledge and those who applied that knowledge. Such relationships are characterized by regular exchanges of information, ideas and experience. This two way exchange of information by practitioners and researchers is an important contributing aspect in the development of the Institute’s business relevant research agenda.
Figure 2. Knowledge Transfer and Exchange (KTE)
Research Based Product Development
The Loss Prevention Directors in Boston later became Product Directors and in 2000 were relocated to Hopkinton to be near the Research Institute scientists and support staff. Technical Directors were added in 2009 and remain today with most working remotely. The Product Directors/Technical Directors became the exchange link between LMRIS research to practice. This relationship is also a source of professional development for Product Directors/Technical Directors by virtue of their participation on selected research project proposal business relevance discussions, participation in Technical Review Committee (TRC) presentations, occasional contributors as co-author on selected articles, and co-authors on internal Hopkinton Technical Memoranda (TMs) and/or Technical Transfer Documents (TTDs). Researchers also benefit from this relationship as they learn about needs of the field and practical application of their research.
Figure 3: Loss Prevention/Risk Control Product Areas
Product Director/Technical Director areas of specialty include; Ergonomics & Tribology, Construction, Transportation, Manufacturing Technology, Organizational Safety Performance, General Liability, Industrial Hygiene, Property and Training. These specialties are supported by Liberty Mutual’s book of business, major coverages and the WC top 10 major loss causes per the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index. Low back pain and disability (Overexertion) as well as Falls on Same Level (slips and trips) have remained the top 2 causes of workplace injuries for over 50 years.
Figure 4. 2017 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index
A short list of the variety LMRIS research based products developed in collaboration with various researchers in each center over the years that directly contributed to workplace and public safety include:
- CompuTask™ software; MMH and upper extremity assessment, energy expenditure (Snook and Ciriello)
- Update of energy expenditure guidelines for manual handling tasks (Dempsey, Ciriello, Maikala et al)
- On-line Liberty Mutual Tables (Snook and Ciriello)
- VidLiTeC™ software; lifting tasks (Hsiang, Brogmus et al.)
- Scheduling Impact Risk Estimator-SIRE™ (Folkard, Lombardi, Brogmus et al.)
- Liberty Mutual Safety Climate Survey™ (Zohar, Huang, Tolbert et al.)
- Machine Safeguarding distance opening recommendations (Vaillancourt and Snook)
- Optimizing Supervisor Response to Work Injury Training (Shaw, Robertson, Pransky et al.)
- Comprehensive office ergonomics training agenda; sit/stand workstations, ergonomic chairs, flexible workspaces (Robertson et al.)
- Surface roughness, measurements of slipperiness; flooring selection and maintenance (Wen Chang, Kai-Way Li et al.)
- Perceptions of slipperiness laboratory studies; heel strike, visual cue, flooring selection and maintenance (DiDomenico, Lesch, et al.)
- Perceptions of slipperiness active work environments; Liberty Mutual Slipperiness Perception Survey™ (Verma, Courtney et al.)
- Measurements of slipperiness/friction; evaluation of slipmeters, (Chang, Courtney et al.)
- One-handed pulling strength recommendations (Lin, McGorry and Maynard)
- Distraction from in-vehicle devices, telematics and driver safety (Horrey, Lesch et al.)
- Return to Work Toolkit (Pransky, Shaw, Robertson, et al.)
- Integrated Safety, Health and Wellness Toolkit (Robertson et al.)
- Aging and Safety Toolkit (Verma, Courtney, Tin-Chi Lin, Jia-Hua Lin, Brogmus et al)
- Whole body vibration, physiological response and health (Maikala et al.)