Work Environment

Research

Research is integral to all aspects of the department's work. All faculty members carry out their own research programs. In addition, there are several centers, institutes, laboratories and offices affiliated with the department and devoted to research.

Work Environment Research Centers


Research Laboratories

The Biomechanics Lab is used extensively in the biomechanics courses and the Work Methods Analysis course. Master's and doctoral students also use it frequently for their research projects. Among the equipment available there are electromyographic amplifiers, manual push-pull force gauges, electronic hand dynamometers, electronic goniometers and torsiometers, strain gauge amplifiers, an illuminance meter, strength testing fixtures, lumbar motion monitor and vibrometer.

For more info contact: Bryan Buchholz, Work Environment Professor.
  
OEH/Industrial Hygiene Laboratory 
This is an instructional and research laboratory whose work focuses on exposure assessment, sampling and analysis of air contaminants. Extensive air sampling equipment including personal sampling pumps, direct reading particulate, gas and vapor monitors, and microbial air samplers are housed here. In addition, an atomic absorption spectrometer, gas chromatography, UV/Vis spectorphotometer and microbalance are used in chemical analyses done in the lab. A computer system linked to the autosamplers of the analytical equipment also supports the instrumentation in this laboratory. Other equipment includes confined space monitors, noise dosimeters, Hnu photoionization detector, and high-volume sampling pumps.

For more info contact: Fred Youngs, Chemist/Laboratory Manager.

Aerosol Science Laboratory  
The lab is equipped with an aerosol generation system, where test aerosols can be generated to test aerosol measurement and control equipment. The lab also contains ventilation evaluation equipment and is used to teach ventilation design and evaluation methods. The equipment includes a Zeiss light microscope equipped for phase contrast, a laser particle spectrophotometer, a Wright dust feeder, and a fibrous aerosol generator.

For more info contact: Fred Youngs, Chemist/Laboratory Manager. 

Exposure Biology Laboratory 
For more info contact: Dhimiter Bello, Associate Professor.

The mission of the Toxics Use Reduction Institute Laboratory is to test the effectiveness of greener cleaning chemicals and related equipment on a variety of substrates and soils. The Lab's goal is to identify, develop and promote safer alternatives to hazardous materials such as chlorinated and other organic solvents. The Lab uses standard industrial practices of surface preparation, cleaning, rinsing, drying and analysis in investigating alternatives. The lab is equipped with both cleaning equipment and analytical equipment to measure surface cleanliness as well as machinery suitable for a variety of substrates and soils. Most recently, the lab has focused on the evaluation of aqueous-based cleaning systems being developed as alternatives to chlorinated solvents.

For more info contact: Jason Marshall, Director of Laboratory Services.

Faculty Research Areas

Dhimiter Bello

  • Nanotoxicology 
  • Toxicological properties of nanoparticles from photocopiers
  • Isocyanate skin exposure and sensitization
Maria Brunette 
  • Macroergonomics, job and organizational design
  • Quality of work life, job satisfaction and occupational stress
  • Occupational safety and health
  • Working conditions in industrially developing countries
Bryan Buchholz 
  • Occupational biomechanics 
  • Bioinstrumentation
  • Ergonomic exposures in the fishing industry
  • Construction ergonomics 
Manuel Cifuentes
  • Psychosocial working conditions; physiological indicators of work stress (biomarkers); cardiovascular and mental health outcomes
  • Adaptation to modification of work stations; evaluation of workplace interventions
  • Occupational epidemiology; structural determinants of worker’s health
Michael J. Ellenbecker
  • Research toward the goal of reducing the use of toxic chemicals by industry
  • Evaluation and control of exposures to nanoparticles
Kenneth Geiser
  • Environmental law and policy
  • Environmentally appropriate materials
  • Community and workplace health and safety
  • Sustainable production and industrial development
Polly Hoppin
  • Policies and programs that cost-effectively reduce the burden of asthma
  • Models for interagency/multi-sectoral initiatives to address environmentally-mediated disease
  • Promoting the development of safer products, materials and processes as integral to chronic disease prevention
  • The development of appropriate science capacity to serve the needs of communities confronting environmental risks to health
Robert A. Karasek
  • Job stress and occupational epidemiology (demand/control model), job measurement (job content questionnaire development), international comparisons of psychosocial job risks
  • Healthy work redesign, participatory work redesign methods
  • Social policy and political economy of "work quality"
  • Stress physiology and cardiovascular output measurement
David Kriebel
  • Improving science for environmental and health policy
  • Cancer, respiratory disease and injury epidemiology
  • Public health surveillance
  • Biologic models for improving environmental and occupational epidemiology
Pia Markkanen
  • International occupational and environmental health
  • Work environment in the healthcare industry, informal economy and industrial homework
  • Social dimensions of globalization
  • Women's occupational health
  • Use of chemicals at work and international chemical management policies
William Mass
  • Technological and organizational change
  • Comparative industrial development
  • Local and regional development policies
  • Historical determinants of occupational and environmental health policy in the U.S.
Laura Punnett
  • Epidemiology of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)
  • The role of working conditions in explaining socioeconomic and gender disparities in health
  • The effectiveness of workplace interventions such as ergonomics programs, health promotion, joint labor-management health and safety committees
  • Methods for workplace measurement of ergonomic exposures
  • MSD surveillance, under-reporting, and health-related selection out of the workforce
  • The effect of ergonomic stressors on other health outcomes, such as acute injury risk, mental health, and pregnancy outcomes
Margaret Quinn
  • Occupational & environmental exposure assessment for studies of human health risks
  • Intervention research to prevent illness and injury and promote healthy environments in healthcare
  • "Sustainable Production," methods to integrate occupational & environmental health and safety into the production and consumption of goods and services
  • Assessment of the social policy aspects of work environment problems and solutions

Susan Sama
  • Measuring health effects of occupational and environmental chemical exposures
  • Exhaled breath biomarkers for asthma and chronic lung disease
  • Air pollution and childhood asthma
  • Sharps injuries among home health care workers
  • Effectiveness of disease management programs for chronic diseases such as asthma and diabetes 
Susan Woskie
  • Exposure assessment for epidemiologic studies
  • Methods for sampling and analysis of personal exposures to chemicals
  • Biomarkers
  • Statistical analysis of exposure data
  • Evaluation of environmental and process factors for predicting and controlling workplace exposures