Safety Council offers March 18 presentation on workplace ergonomics

**PLEASE NOTE** March 16 registration deadline

BEMIDJI, Minn. — Dr. Vince Vohnout will present the program “Ergonomics in the Workplace: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You” at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 18, at the Bemidji State University Center for Research and Innovation.

A $25 fee will be charged to cover the price of materials and the cost of lunch during the 90-minute session, which is presented as part of a Northern Minnesota Safety Council series on safety issues.  The session will be held at the center’s off-campus facility, located at 3801 Bemidji Avenue North. Advanced registration at least two days prior to the event is required.

Vohnout describes ergonomics as the study of the manual work tasks of humans, including the consideration of posture control of sedentary workers. During the program, he will outline the importance of how understanding ergonomics in a business, production facility or office can protect employees and benefit an organization’s viability.

“Any business that has employees risks loss of productivity and increased operating expenses if their employees work environment is not evaluated to identify existing and potential ergonomic problems,” said Vohnout, an associate professor of technological studies at Bemidji State.

“Workplace safety is not just avoiding major trauma events but also minimizing injuries related to repetitive motions and poor posture, which can be active long before symptoms are reported. Workplace injuries are costly to employers in many ways besides direct insurance claims, including loss of productivity, employee morale, and reputation as a desirable workplace.”

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in a recent 10-year study that the most severe ergonomic injuries could cost $100,000 or more in medical expenses, lost-time benefits, disability ratings and potential liability. The study noted that a few cases could potentially affect a company’s profitability and ability to remain in business.

Before joining the Bemidji State faculty in 2006, Vohnout had a career in business which included the founding of Adaptive Machine Technologies, an engineering research and development company in Columbus, Ohio, where he served as president for nine years. He earned master’s and doctorate degrees in industrial engineering at Ohio State, and as part of his doctoral work he studied human factors and cognitive engineering with the founders of the Ohio State Institute for Ergonomics.

Sponsored by the CRI and the Northern Minnesota Safety Council, the session is part of a series that features experts on topics relating to safety from around the state. Programs are scheduled on the third Wednesday of each month. Groups on the Bemidji Area Safety Council helping support and organize the presentations include Bi-County CAP, Beltrami County, North Central Door Company, Potlatch, and Tri-Valley.

For more information, or to be added to the mailing list for the series, contact the Bemidji State University Center for Research and Innovation at (218) 755-4900; (888) 738-3224;; or at

March 18
– 11:30 a.m. – Bemidji State University Center for Research and Innovation hosts Northern Minnesota Safety Council presentation on ergonomics in the workplace. Presenter: Dr. Vince Vohnout, associate professor of technological studies at Bemidji State. Location: Center for Research and Innovation; 3801 Bemidji Ave. N.; Bemidji, Minn. Cost: $25, includes lunch; advance registration required by March 16. Information: (218) 755-4900; (888) 738-3224;;