Latest News

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released its 2014 ratings of booster seats suitable for children ages 4 to 8.  The ratings are available here. There are more than 40 booster seats which earned the top "Best Bet" rating, but there were also 5 seats which received the lowest "Not recommended" rating.

In September of 2014, the Emergency Care Research Institute (ECRI) named Banner Health System as a Finalist for its 2014 Health Devices Achievement Award. A usability study of several vendors’ hospital beds by J.P. Purswell for Banner Health was a large part of this effort. Dr. Purswell previously presented a talk on this study at the 2013 IIE Annual Conference.

Also in September of 2014, J.P. Purswell joined a group of IE PEs in Atlanta to work on the IE PE exam. The IE PE committee, ably led by Dr. Mike Graul, is working toward moving the exam from one offered hard copy only one day a year to a computer based exam that can be offered “on-demand”. While the committee still has much to do to prepare for the transition, the group made solid progress at this meeting. The committee continues to welcome the participation of currently licensed PEs practicing in the area of industrial engineering to participate on the committee. Contact Dr. Graul at Mgraul@KBSI.com if you are interested in volunteering.

In May of 2013, Dr. J.P. Purswell made a presentation entitled "A usability analysis of critical care, med-surg and birthing hospital beds" at the IIE Annual Conference summarizing a project that he performed for a hospital chain.

In August 2012, Dr. J.P. participated in a committee to reformulate the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam at NCEES headquarters in Clemson, S.C. Dr. Purswell continues to serve on the Industrial Engineers Professional Engineers (IE PE) committee. He represented IIE at a NCEES meeting in December 2012 to discuss transitioning the PE exams to a computer-based format.

In June 2012, Dr J.P. Purswell co-authored a paper with his CSU-Pueblo Masters student, Jay Baillageon, entitled "The Impact of the 1998 Revision OSHA Forklift Standard on the Relative Frequency of Certain Accidents Involving Powered Industrial Trucks" for the 24rd Annual Meeting of the International Society for Occupational Ergonomics and Safety. The paper compared a sampling of accident reports involving powered industrial trucks in the OSHA accident database for the 10 years before and the 10 years after the revised standard became effective.

In June 2011, Dr. J.P. Purswell presented two papers at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the International Society for Occupational Ergonomics and Safety. The first paper was an update on OSHA citation activity of ergonomic hazards under the "General Duty" clause. Some states like California operate "State Plans" which impose additional requirements for the mitigation of ergonomic hazards and may cite ergonomic hazards for violations of provisions that federal OSHA does not track. Of the jurisdictions cited as ergonomic hazards under the General Duty clause, Puerto Rico (another "state plan" jurisdiction) has seen the most citations issued for ergonomic hazards.

The second paper Dr. J.P. Purswell presented at the 2011 ISOES meeting, entitled "Truck Crane Accident Patterns" classified accidents in the OSHA accident database involving truck cranes. As might be expected, more than half of the accidents records involved employers whose Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes indicated that they were categorized as construction-related. The most common accident scenario was overturn due to exceeding the rated load capacity of the crane. The second most common accident scenario consisted of falling crane components striking a worker during the assembly or disassembly of the crane.

In June 2010, Dr. J.P. Purswell presented a paper at the Third International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics annual meeting entitled "The Distribution of Pedestrian - Backing Vehicle Accidents by Backup Alarm Status and Vehicle Type." This paper expanded on the 2000 paper he co-authored entitled "The Effectiveness of Audible Backup Alarms as Indicated by OSHA Accident Investigation Records." The 2010 paper included records of additional pedestrian-backing vehicle accidents, which were again classified by the backup alarm status of the vehicle involved. The 2010 paper also identified the type of vehicle and the employers' industry classification (SIC code). Vehicle type for each record was also classified as construction equipment, some type of forklift, or a street vehicle. Among the findings of note, a preponderance of the accidents reviewed involved vehicles used in construction. OSHA regulations require that construction equipment with an obstructed rear view have either a functioning backup alarm or an on the ground spotter directing the movement.

In June 2009, Dr. J.P. Purswell presented a paper at the ISOES annual meeting that he authored entitled "Crawler Crane Accident Patterns." The paper was based upon a review of accident summaries contained in the OSHA Accident Database.  The analysis revealed that the most common mode of serious injury associated with crawler cranes was workers being struck by falling objects. In some cases, the falling object was an improperly secured load, while in other instances; some part of an improperly rigged crane actually fell and struck a worker.  29 CFR 1926.550 (the OSHA regulations for Construction) states "All employees shall be kept clear of loads about to be lifted and of suspended loads." In addition, OSHA has issued this letter of interpretation regarding the permissible proximity of workers to suspended loads.

Dr. J.P. Purswell also co-authored a paper presented by Mr. Dennis Brickman at the 2009 ISOES conference entitled "Tree Chipper Human Perception-Reaction Testing." The paper addressed the human perception-reaction response during a branch pull-in scenario involving a commercial mechanical in-feed tree chipper. Tests were performed using male subjects utilizing a hopper test fixture equipped with feed wheels and a safety control bar that was located close to the feed end and within easy reach. The test results indicated that all test subjects were able to move the safety control bar into the reverse feed wheel position before their hand entered the feed wheels.

Dr. J.P Purswell completed a 5 year term as Chair of the IE PE Exam committee in May. Dr. Purswell has "passed the baton" to Mr. Ron Janzen. Dr. Purswell continues to serve on the IE PE Exam committee.

Consulting in Litigation Matters

We have provided consultation (including expert testimony) on the listed issues for matters in litigation.

We have consulted with attorneys from all 50 states. References will happily be provided on request.

Hazard Analyses

A hazard analysis uses one or more system safety techniques to identify hazards associated with the intended use and foreseeable misuse of a product. Accident databases are also consulted to identify possible injury modes. Once a list of hazards is developed changes in the product design or instructions and warnings to accompany the product are developed to address the identified hazards.

Risk Assessments

A product or process is evaluated both for the likelihood of injury and/or property damage as well as the severity of injury and/or property damage. Risk reduction techniques are then applied to reduce both the likelihood and severity of the risk as feasible.

Information Interface Designs
Chemicals Warnings User interface designs are evaluated by asking representative users to complete actual tasks with a particular product to identify where user confusions may arise. If the testing reveals difficulties or ambiguities with the design, recommendations for changes are provided. Then the user testing can be repeated to confirm that the change has resolved the user confusions. Particular consideration is given to those interface-induced user confusions which may result in injury.
Warning Development and Evaluation
Warnings and instructions can alert users to particular hazards associated with a product and instruct the user in the precautions necessary to avoid harm. The ultimate utility of a warning depends on both the warning as well as the user’s willingness to notice, read, and understand the warning message and then follow the warning’s precautions. A hazard analysis of the product is usually the first step in this process to identify those hazards which the warnings need to address.


We also assist clients in determining which if any, regulatory standards may be applicable to content and format of the warnings for their products. Where no specific government regulation for a warning for a particular product exists, beginning with a hazard analysis, we assist clients to identify appropriate content, format, size and placement of the warning messages based upon the empirical literature on warnings effectiveness as well as consensus standards. Consultations on warnings development and review range from briefing the client on the necessary elements of a warning to actually producing “camera-ready” warnings for a product. We have also designed and conducted tests of the warnings with representative users who are asked to use the product.

Product Instruction Manual Development

Consultations on user manuals are provided to improve the readability, organization, and completeness with particular focus on the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the anticipated user. Manuals are also reviewed to ensure that appropriate safety instructions and warnings are included. As with the development of on-product warnings discussed above, we can provide “camera-ready” files for manuals to clients.

Development of Material Safety Data Sheets

Safety Data Sheets are required by OSHA for hazardous chemicals to which workers may be exposed. We have assisted manufacturers and importers of chemicals to develop Safety Data Sheets that comply with both OSHA and ANSI requirements for the ordering and content of these sheets. As of 2012, OSHA and ANSI no longer refer to this information as “Material Safety Data Sheets” (MSDSs) but simply as “Safety Data Sheets”. As of 2010, ANSI merged its standards for Safety Data Sheets and (on-product) Precautionary Labeling into one unified standard.

Development of Safety Programs

Consultations with employers on the development of OSHA-mandated safety training as well as site and application specific training to deal with specific hazards are provided. Guidance is also provided on the benchmarking of a particular company’s safety performance against its industry’s safety performance.

Analysis of OSHA Compliance Issues

Consultations on OSHA compliance issues are provided. We have advised clients on the requirements of General Industry and Construction standards and assisted clients in responding to OSHA citations. Based on our knowledge of OSHA standards, compliance directives, and interpretations as well as the hearing record for the standard contained in the preambles to the standard, we have clarified the requirements of OSHA regulations for clients.

We have also advised clients on what they may reasonably expect from an OSHA inspection, including likely areas of particular interest given the client’s industry and injury history. We have also provided guidance regarding the duties of various entities on multi-employer worksites as well as OSHA’s citation practices of ergonomic and heat stress hazards under the “General Duty” clause.
Purswell & Purswell, Ergonomics & Safety Consulting
2035 Mulligan Dr., Colorado Springs, Co 80920
Phone: (719) 592-1773 • Fax: (719) 265-6905
Dr Jerry Purswell: jerry.purswell@gmail.com
Dr. J.P. Purswell: j.p.purswell@gmail.com