The Visiting Scholar Program offers unique collaborative opportunities for senior researchers from around the world. Each year, a prominent researcher was selected to spend three or more months at the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety to collaborate on a research initiative of mutual interest. The program requires joint publication. Additionally, the program encourages a longer collaborative relationship between the Institute and the Visiting Scholar’s home institution.
Edward James Ted Lovesey, Ph.D., M.Sc., F.E.S., was selected as the 1994 Visiting Scholar. As a participant in the Research Institute’s whole body vibration recording program, Dr. Lovesey reviewed and evaluated the Institute’s capacity in the whole body vibration field. He then developed and critiqued field study proposals for the validation of instruments designed to measure the exposure levels in over-the-road vehicle drivers.
Dr. Alex Burdorf, Professor of Epidemiology from Erasmus University in the Netherlands, was selected as the 1996 Visiting Scholar. During his three-month stay at the Research Institute, Dr. Burdorf worked with the research staff to complete a comprehensive review of the epidemiological evidence for work-related risk factors for low-back disorders. The resulting paper, “Positive and Negative Evidence for Work-Related Low-Back Disorders,” was published by the Scandinavian Journal of Work Environment and Health. Additionally, Dr. Burdorf was a contributor to the Research Institute’s manual materials handling criteria field study and both a participant in and contributor to the first Hopkinton Conference, Methodological Challenges to the Study of Occupational Injury held in June 1996.
The Research Institute was privileged to host P.K. Nag, Ph.D., D.Sc., of India’s National Institute of Occupational Health, as one of two Visiting Scholars in 1997. During his three-month stay at the Research Institute, Dr. Nag focused on three research projects. The first was a conceptual integration of macroergonomics principles in work safety analysis. The second, a review on the kinematic and kinetic factors that contribute to spinal loading in manual materials handling tasks, sought to develop better injury risk avoidance strategies in these tasks. Finally, Dr. Nag worked closely with the Biomechanics Laboratory for an in-depth investigation of trunk, hip, and leg muscle interplay in different gait patterns and load carrying modes.
The Research Institute was privileged to host Michael S. Wogalter, Ph.D., of North Carolina State University as one of two Visiting Scholars in 1997. Dr. Wogalter applied his expertise in human factors psychology to the Institute’s cognitive ergonomics research endeavors. He played a key role in the development of research projects involving safety communications at the Institute. One concerned graphics-related and perceptual variables that predict safety symbol comprehension. Another concerned the relative importance of components in safety signs. A third concerned safety behavior as function of presentation method. Additionally, together with colleagues at the Institute, he analyzed definitions of the discipline of human factors and ergonomics to determine core concepts
Dr. Raoul A. Grönqvist, 1998, Finland
The Research Institute was honored to host Raoul Grönqvist, Ph.D., from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH) in Vantaa, Finland. During his three-month tenure, Dr. Grönqvist contributed to two research projects in the area of slips and falls. The first project, initiated by Liberty Mutual researchers, involved friction measurements and their reproducibility. The experiments were conducted in an environmental chamber under different temperature and humidity conditions. The researchers checked the variability of friction measurements taken with different slip meters on different floor surfaces. The second project, initiated by FIOH, involved the development of a portable test device to measure static, transitional, and kinetic floor friction in the field.
Dr. John Bloomfield, 1999, United States
In 1999, the Research Institute hosted John Bloomfield, Ph.D., for a three month tenure. During his visit, Dr. Bloomfield focused his research in the area of driver behavior. He worked with Institute researchers to evaluate current projects, provided input on future research initiatives, and completed work on studies previously initiated at other institutions. While at the Institute, Dr. Bloomfield presented on “First Steps Towards a Phenomenology of Driving Behavior” at the Vision in Vehicles International Conference. The paper was the result of data analysis performed at the Research Institute. He also completed two co-authored papers: “Driving Simulation Study Comparing Bilateral Array Multifocal Versus Bilateral Monofocual Intraocular Lens Subjects” and “Effects of Fexofenadine, Diphenhyframine and Alcohol on Driving Performance: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial in the Iowa Driving Simulator”.
Dr. Gordon S. Smith, 2000, United States
Dr. Smith served as the 2000 Visiting Scholar while he was an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy. During his tenure, he conducted occupational injury epidemiology research involving data from the 1997/98 National Health Interview Surveys (NHIS). The project resulted in several papers summarizing key epidemiologic findings from the study. These papers included recommendations for improving the NHIS’s ability to capture workplace injury information and explored the differences between injury rates from the NHIS survey and from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data. He later became a member of the Research Institute staff in 2001.
Dal Ho Son, Ph.D., of Taegu, Korea, served as the eighth Visiting Scholar. While at the Institute, he laid the groundwork for a slips and falls research project to examine accidents related to ladder use. The project aims to develop an experimental apparatus that will measure the force and motion of human subjects while on a ladder. Following his tenure, Dr. Son continued to collaborate with the Institute to complete the project.
Kai Way Li, Ph.D., of Chung-Hua University in Taiwan, served as the 2002 Visiting Scholar. An associate professor with the Department of Industrial Management, his research interests included injury prevention on worksites, including slips and falls and hand tool design. In the area of slips and falls study, he specialized in gait analysis, friction measurement, and perception. During his three-month stay at the Institute, Dr. Li collaborated with our researchers to design a field investigation of work-related slips and falls in restaurants. The study explores the relationship between actual floor friction measurements and worker perceptions of floor slipperiness. Dr. Li and Institute researchers surveyed restaurant workers from various sites of a single restaurant chain. Participants were asked to rate the slipperiness of selected areas of the kitchen. They were also asked about their job experience, work duties, footwear, and other factors that might affect their perception of floor slipperiness. The information provided by workers will be compared to actual floor friction measurements taken by researchers in the kitchens of participating restaurants. Dr. Li continues to collaborate with the Institute on the restaurant study. Using similar protocols, he implemented a parallel study in Taiwan. Dr. Li and Institute researchers will compare the results of both studies. Dr. Li later joined the Institute staff in 2004.
Svend Erik Mathiassen, Ph.D., of Malmö University and Lund University (Sweden), served as the 2003 Visiting Scholar. During his tenure, he worked with researchers on a study which examined cycle-to-cycle consistency in subjects performing assembly work. Female subjects performed a simulated industrial assembly task according to four different protocols – line type work, batch-type work, line type work with breaks, and work at a self-determined acceptable pace. Researchers collected data using EMG, motion analysis, an instrumented force-sensitive screwdriver, a heart rate monitor, and questionnaires. From these data, researchers hope to discern workplace factors that cause workers to use the same motor pattern over and over again. The study will also help to explain why some workers may have a greater risk of developing disorders from performing a certain repetitive work tasks. Dr. Mathiassen continues to collaborate on this project from Sweden, with periodic returns to the Institute. While at the Institute, Dr. Mathiassen also collaborated with Institute researchers to complete a scientific article on the influence of job task analysis engineering methods on ergonomics and contributed to a project to develop ergonomic exposure assessment strategies for practitioners.
The 2004 Visiting Scholar was Professor Emeritus Simon Folkard, B.Sc., Ph.D., D.Sc. (Lond.), C.Psychol., F.B.Ps.S., a leading authority on problems associated with shift work (particularly fatigue and safety). Focusing his work on the effects of time (i.e., time of day, shift time/duration, time elapsed since last break) on injury risk, he spent three months at the Research Institute collaborating with injury epidemiologists. Dr. Folkard helped to incorporate temporal factors into current Research Institute projects, including various epidemiological investigations on traumatic injuries in the U.S. and China. Working with Institute researchers, he analyzed various international data sets that provide information for estimating risk over different features of shift systems (i.e., type of shift and number of successive shifts). From these data, they began developing a Risk Index to predict injury risks associated with long work hours. A paper describing a preliminary version of the Index was published in Chronobiology International and was presented as a keynote talk at a national health and safety conference.
Dr. Monroe Keyserling, 2005, United States
The Research Institute appointed W. Monroe Keyserling, Ph.D., the 2005 Visiting Scholar. During his four-month tenure he collaborated with Institute injury epidemiologists. In the Quantitative Analysis Unit. Dr. Keyserling sought to improve methods for studying the exposures associated with acute traumatic workplace injuries. The collaborators aim to work to integrate engineering approaches, such as those used to assess long-term exposures for chronic cumulative injuries with the case-crossover method that Liberty Mutual pioneered to assess transient risk factors for acute injury. Dr. Keyserling also assisted with a project exploring risk factors for ladder injuries.
The Institute hosted a second Visiting Scholar this year – Yung-Hui Terrence Lee, Ph.D., of the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (Taipei, Taiwan). During his tenure, Dr. Lee collaborated with Institute researchers on a biomechanics study involving lifting postures. During his visit, Dr. Lee investigated the effects of initial lumbar and knee postures, and pre-lifting dynamics on low back loading. Researchers used a motion analysis tracking system to record joint movement, EMG to collect data on muscle activation, and force plates to measure ground reaction forces. The findings will help researchers to better understand human lifting dynamics and will help to develop postural recommendations for workers involved in manual material handling tasks.