Industrial Engineer Engineering and Management Solutions at Work

August 2014    |    Volume: 46    |    Number: 8

The member magazine of the Institute of Industrial Engineers

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Work Perfect

The day we strive forPaul Adams 

Paul Adams, Ph.D., P.E.

Senior consultant
Applied Safety & Ergonomics Inc.
Ann Arbor, Mich.

I am a senior consultant with Applied Safety and Ergonomics Inc. ASE provides consulting services related to product and occupational safety; warnings, instructions and risk communication; and human factors and ergonomics. My work requires an in-depth knowledge of human factors and is focused on providing technical expertise and support to clients. These projects include investigating and analyzing occupational accidents, as well as conducting time studies for use in wage-and-hour litigation cases.

A “perfect day” might begin with a review of facts surrounding an industrial or construction accident that seems to have no logical explanation. I would use data from a previous site visit, photos taken at the time of the accident, information gleaned from witnesses, or perhaps a reconstruction to analyze sight lines, auditory cues, tactile feedback and environmental factors. Through the course of our work, we may find unrecognized obstructions, distractions and conditions that may have influenced the equipment operator. We use various media to capture these findings.

The most satisfying aspect of my work is training younger, less experienced engineers and safety professionals. My first supervisor told me that the most gratifying part of his job was coaching me. Now that I’m in similar shoes, I understand what he meant and have a strong desire to share my experience and knowledge with the next generation of professionals. I have a passion for helping the safety and human factors/ergonomics communities move prevention through design (PtD) to the fore. This needs to be done in a way that engages and encourages the broader engineering community. My current research project aims to develop a tool or metric that can be used by water utilities to drive PtD processes. It could significantly benefit many industries and workers.

– Interview by David Brandt

David Brandt is the Web managing editor for IIE.