Columbus, OH – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine recently announced that the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) has awarded two grants totaling $2,134,852 to the University of Cincinnati (UC).
BWC’s Workforce Safety Innovation Center (WSIC) provided the grants for the research and development of new, innovative personal protective equipment (PPE) and personal protective technology (PPT) for Ohio workers employed in various fields including first responders, manufacturing, agriculture, and other sectors requiring additional protection while on the job.
“We want to do all we can to keep Ohioans safe while they’re on the job,” said Governor DeWine. “These grants are another important step in developing cutting-edge materials and tactics to ensure that Ohio’s workers make it home safe and uninjured at the end of each day.”
“BWC is excited to partner with the UC on these important projects,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud. “The development of groundbreaking PPE and PPT products will assist BWC with our goal of reducing workplace injuries and keeping Ohioans safe on the job”.
The University of Cincinnati received two grants, the first being the Integration of Carbon Nanotube Hybrid Active Textile (AT) Systems in PPE for the Ohio Fire Service, led by Ashley Kubley. AT fabric will be added as an innermost layer in a commercial turnout coat worn by firefighters. Embedded electronics and forced convection cooling using air and CO2 gas will be incorporated into the coat liner as a potential intervention to reduce injuries to firefighters in Ohio.
The second grant is for the development of the Exposure-Protection Integrated Communicator (EPIC) to Improve and Promote PPE/PPT Usages in Ohio Workplace, led by Dr. Jun Wang. The result of the proto-type EPIC device is to inform workers about the environment in their proximity, their personal inhalation exposure level, and the protective level of PPE.
Based on data collected from BWC claims, WSIC identified priority areas of focus for technologies and products that will reduce the frequency and severity of on-the-job injuries. BWC only accepted applicants from Ohio not-for-profit higher education institutions or research organizations.
The Workforce Safety Innovation Center at BWC is led by Sandi Golden-Vest. Proposals were evaluated by a diverse team of BWC staff and members of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory.
“The WSIC grant leverages a methodology that drives deliberate maturation of concepts from ideation to prototype. BWC believes in investing in innovators/researchers, through the collaboration with industry partners, to transform ideas into viable technical and commercial workforce solutions,” said Golden-Vest.
Source: Ohio BWC