Consulting Services

We provide ergonomics and safety consulting services to manufacturers, employers, government agencies, and attorneys in the following areas:

  • Warnings and Risk Communication
    • Warning labels and safety symbols
    • Instructions, manuals, and product documentation
    • Risk perception
    • Chemical labeling and Safety Data Sheets
    • Consensus safety standards (e.g., ANSI, ASTM, UL)
    • US Government safety regulations (OSHA, MSHA, CPSC)
  • Ergonomics and Human Factors
    • Biomechanics and work physiology, including force measurement
    • Hand-arm and whole body vibration measurement
    • Fatigue and environmental stressors
    • Human factors issues relating to visual inspection tasks
    • Driver distraction issues, including cell phone and navigation system use while driving
    • Effects of fatigue on driver performance 
    • Cell phone interactions with medical devices
    • Hospital beds/patient handling devices
    • Vigilance and habituation issues
    • Age-related human performance
    • Visibility, including light measurement
    • Audibility, including sound measurement
    • Backup alarms
    • Powered wheelchairs
  • Industrial Safety
    • Analysis of the safety interface between robotic systems and operator/maintenance personnel
    • OSHA compliance and industry benchmarking
    • Machine guarding and lockout/ tagout
    • Construction safety
    • Accident investigation
    • Job analysis and design
    • Oil field and refinery safety
    • Forklift safety
    • Welding safety
    • Personal protective equipment (training and use issues)
  • Product Safety
    • Hazard analysis and risk assessment of new and existing products
    • Accident analysis and evaluation
    • Product safety management
  • Traffic and Rail Safety
    • Perception/reaction time issues
    • Visibility issues
    • Audibility issues
    • FELA litigation
The service for most clients begins with a thorough review of the product or system to evaluate potential hazards, assessment of the risk of injury or illness from exposure to these hazards and the application of the principles of safety engineering to deal with the hazards identified.  Other services have involved the design of interfaces between products and the expected user to consider the information aspects as well as the forces applied and the response of the body to these forces.  There is the potential for these analyses to be applied in a litigation matter for which we may provide consultation and testimony.
Consulting in Litigation Matters

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

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
Forklift Warnings and Investigation 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 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 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:
Dr. J.P. Purswell: