Vredenburgh & Associates, Inc.

Human Factors, Ergonomics, Safety,
Organizational & Biomechanics Consulting

Research

Workplace Safety

 

Runge, K. & Vredenburgh, A.G. (2013). A False Sense of Security: Hazards Associated with Working on Flat Roofs with Parapet Walls. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 57th Annual Meeting. Santa Monica, CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Vol. 57, 590-594.

Roofing is a dangerous business in any capacity. The following is a case study presenting the dangers of working on a flat roof with parapet walls. A key issue is the workers’ situation awareness of their jobsite while being attentive to their task demands. This case addresses the role of perceptions, safety meetings, trip hazards, barriers and how different subcontractors affect each other’s safety as methods to address this hazard.

Vredenburgh, A.G. (2003). Intervention Effectiveness: Evaluation of six workplace safety programs to determine their contribution to injury reduction. Abstract in Proceedings of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium (NOIRS). Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 101.

On any given day, seventeen American workers are killed and 16,000 are injured in work-related accidents, resulting in a cost to business and industry of more than $110 billion annually. Six management interventions consistently are discussed in the context of safety culture: communication/feedback, management support, hiring practices, rewards, training, and employee participation.  This study evaluated the degree to which each of these interventions contributes to a safe work environment. There are few well-controlled studies demonstrating the efficacy of safety programs implemented in work settings; therefore, the six initial subscales were developed based on expert experience and case studies reported in practitioners’ articles.  Risk managers from 62 participating hospitals completed a 3-part survey developed for this study that solicited data regarding management practices and employee injuries.  A factor analysis performed on the management practices scale resulted in the development of six factor scales. A multiple regression performed on these factor scales found that proactive practices reliably predicted injury rates.  Remedial measures acted as a suppressor variable. While most of the participating institutions implemented reactive practices (fixing problems once they have occurred), what differentiated the best performers was that they also employed proactive measures to prevent accidents. The most effective step that organizations can take is in the front-end hiring of new personnel and verifying that skills gained through training are being employed the work areas. They should also ensure that the risk management position has a management-level classificationThis study also demonstrated that the amount of training in itself does not reduce accidents.  By evaluating these safety interventions, this study demonstrated where organizations most effectively channel their resources.

Vredenburgh, A.G., & Zackowitz, I.B. (2003). Conducting a Systems Evaluation to Address Workplace Radiation Exposure Hazard. In Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 47th Annual Meeting. Santa Monica, CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 1252-1255.

Human factors consulting and practice in the area of safety management has been motivated by a variety of practical and theoretical interests, including injury reduction. When conducting a human factors analysis involving a hazard, the first course of action is to “design out” the hazard when possible. The purpose of this paper is to describe the use of a systems approach to design out an exposure hazard in an industrial setting. The benefits of a systems approach will be discussed. An example of a complex industrial system with a potential radiation hazard will be analyzed.

Vredenburgh, A., (2002). Organizational safety: Which management practices are most effective in reducing employee injury rates? Journal of Safety Research, 33, 259-276.

Problem: While several management practices have been cited as important components of safety programs, how much does each incrementally contribute to injury reduction? This study examined the degree to which six management practices frequently included in safety programs (management commitment, rewards, communication and feedback, selection, training, and participation) contributed to a safe work environment for hospital employees. Method: Participants were solicited via telephone to participate in a research study concerning hospital risk management. Sixty-two hospitals provided data concerning management practices and employee injuries. Results: Overall, the management practices reliably predicted injury rates. A factor analysis performed on the management practices scale resulted in the development of six factor scales. A multiple regression performed on these factor scales found that proactive practices reliably predicted injury rates. Remedial measures acted as a suppressor variable. Discussion: While most of the participating hospitals implemented reactive practices (fixing problems once they have occurred), what differentiated the hospitals with low injury rates was that they also employed proactive measures to prevent accidents. Impact on Industry: The most effective step that hospitals can take is in the front-end hiring and training of new personnel. They should also ensure that the risk management position has a management-level classification. This study also demonstrated that training in itself is not adequate.

Vredenburgh, A.G., & Zackowitz, I. B. (2001). Work-related musculoskeletal disorders: Ergonomic risk to healthcare workers. In D. Alexander & R. Rabourne (Eds.), Applied Ergonomics. Chapter 17. Taylor & Francis: London, 146-155.

Vredenburgh, A.G., & Zackowitz, I. B. (2001). Ergonomics programs: Reducing work-related musculoskeletal injuries. In D. Alexander & R. Rabourne (Eds.), Applied Ergonomics. Chapter 28. Taylor & Francis: London, 259-268.

Vredenburgh, A., (1999). Risk management: Which management practices are best predictors of employee injury rates? In Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 43rd Annual Meeting. Santa Monica, CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 902-906.

Vredenburgh, A.G. (1998). Safety management: Which organizational factors predict hospital employee injury rates? Doctoral dissertation. California School of Professional Psychology, San Diego, CA.