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Industrial Engineering to launch new graduate program in safety engineering this fall

PITTSBURGH (June 18, 2014) … Targeting a greater need for safety engineers in industrial settings, especially within the region's growing energy and healthcare fields, the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering this fall will launch a cross-disciplinary graduate certificate program in safety engineering. Housed in the School's Department of Industrial Engineering, the safety engineering program will target workforce needs and will include an online format, allowing professionals to take the course either in the classroom or from any location in the world.

Under the direction of Joel M. Haight, PhD , associate professor of industrial engineering, the safety engineering program will target the region's construction, energy, healthcare, manufacturing and utility sectors as well as other industries. The curriculum prepares professionals as engineers rather than safety coordinators by focusing on the industrial engineering aspects of injury prevention, dynamic engineering principles, continuous function-based/quantitative analytical methods, and design principles.

"The safety engineer is a critical role that requires an individual to understand, characterize, quantify, and fix the complex hazards of dynamic industrial processes," Dr. Haight says. "In today's complex working environments, whether an assembly line, hospital or nuclear plant, safety engineering maintains worker health, ensures efficiency and helps to reduce costs. Our program provides professionals with a technical base of competency to address safety engineering needs across various industries. Additionally, by offering courses online, we provide additional flexibility so that individuals can participate in class from home, or employer cohorts can engage in courses from an office conference room."

According to data from the National Safety Council, the total cost of unintentional injuries in 2011, including estimates of economic costs of fatal and nonfatal unintentional injuries together with employers' uninsured costs, vehicle damage costs, and fire losses, was $753 billion. Of the total, the greatest cost was wage and productivity losses at over $363 billion. Dr. Haight says that while most companies commit significant revenue and other resources, including manpower, to a safety or injury prevention program in order to prevent, or at least minimize, injuries, safety engineers play a more proactive role to help employers understand, identify, characterize, mitigate, and eliminate the hazards that contribute to the risk of injury.

For more information about the safety engineering program, email Dr. Haight at jhaight@pitt.edu or call 412-624-9839.


Contact: Paul Kovach