Columbus, OH – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine recently announced that the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) has awarded The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine a $1,477,489 grant for workforce safety innovations.
BWC’s Workforce Safety Innovation Center (WSIC) provided the grant 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. “This grant is integral to our mission of creating innovative materials and technologies to protect Ohio’s workforce, so they make it home safe and uninjured at the end of each day.”
“The opportunity for BWC to collaborate with The Ohio State University on this project is very exciting,” 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 grant funds The Buckeye Pause Bundle: Augmenting State of Mind and Body as the Ultimate PPE, a study led by co-principal investigators and Ohio State researchers Catherine Quatman-Yates, associate professor in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and Department of Orthopaedics, and Maryanna Klatt, director of Integrative Medicine and professor of Family and Community Medicine. It will include the Mindfulness in Motion mind-body exercise prompting system that Klatt created.
“Our system pushes personalized prompts to a study participant’s cell phone to encourage them to pause and engage in mind-body protective exercises based on reaching a given threshold of physiological readings from a wearable biofeedback device. It includes the development of stand-alone, soundproof mind-body exercise respite pods to provide support while in high-stress, busy work settings,” Klatt said.
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 healthcare industry has learned a lot since the beginning of the pandemic about the need for methods to reduce work-related stress, anxiety and burnout, and we’re proud to offer innovative programs such as Mindfulness in Motion,” said Dr. Andrew Thomas, interim co-leader and chief clinical officer for Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. “We have excellent healthcare providers, and these programs help ensure we’re caring for them in the same way they’re caring for our patients. Supporting our team’s wellbeing helps them be their best and deliver excellent patient-centered care.”
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