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Research Partnership Aims To Keep Auto Workers Safe

Unique industry-university partnership provides a 'real world' environment to study and optimize high-tech manufacturing technology along with state-of-the art occupational health risk assessment techniques.

AMHERST, N.Y. —  Columbus McKinnon and the Center for Occupational Health in Automotive Manufacturing (COHAM) at Ohio State University in Columbus are researching ways to use material handling equipment to reduce stress, fatigue and injury to U.S. auto workers. Ohio has over 75 auto plants that produced over 1.5 million cars last year, according to Columbus McKinnon.
 
“Columbus McKinnon is discussing research contracts with COHAM that will assist with the development of new methods and techniques towards improving the ergonomics for production workers,” said Gene Buer, Executive Director of Columbus McKinnon. "Ultimately, these studies and developments will help U.S. automakers increase safety, output, efficiency and profits. Our products such as lift tables from American Lifts, jib cranes from CES, LodeRail, hoists, and rigging products, are all being used as vital parts of this revolutionary program.”
 
By helping workers avoid injuries, auto manufacturers can keep vehicle production costs down and potentially help automakers be more competitive.
 
Largely funded through a partnership with Honda of America, COHAM is an interdisciplinary partnership between an assortment of university departments, automobile manufacturers and automobile suppliers with the overall intent to design assembly tasks and processes so that occupational health risk is minimized while productivity and quality are optimized.
 
COHAM is the only university-based full scale manufacturing operation in the world where automobile manufacturers as well as suppliers can test the effects of manufacturing systems on the health of workers. The Ohio State University based program is distinctive because it provides a "real world" environment to study and optimize high-tech manufacturing technology along with state-of-the art occupational health risk assessment techniques. Through this unique Industry-University partnership it is possible to design processes that both protect worker health and optimize new vehicle production.
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