University expert set to help US government improve safety in defence and space travel

Professor David Edwards

A Birmingham City University academic has been tasked with helping the US government devise a strategy to cut down the number of injuries caused by power-tool use in space travel and the armed forces.

David Edwards, Professor of Plant and Machinery Management, is among members of a panel of experts recruited by officials in the USA to draw up detailed new safety measures.

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The move aims to significantly reduce the number of health issues encountered such as loss of hearing, muscle and bone problems, lung disease from dust inhalation and hand-arm vibration syndrome, which damages nerves and blood vessels and can lead to a sufferers’ finger turning white.

The unique new panel has recruited Professor Edwards due to his recognition as one of the leading experts in hand-arm vibration across the UK, where the study is widely recognised among the most advanced in the world.

Research will be used to create a stringent new set of safety rules to reduce the number of injuries caused by over-use of handheld power tools, which can occur in occupations like construction, engineering and the armed forces.

“It’s also a great honour to be considered an expert by my peers in the United States and be presented with an opportunity to broaden the societal impact of my work.

“The decision to come to University to study has been a truly life fulling and rewarding experience – and I would recommend a University education to anyone who aspires to realise their dreams and ambitions. Hard work and perseverance does pay-off eventually.” 

An expert in engineering design and machinery health and safety, Professor Edwards has been tasked with a range of activities to support the new development including giving regular advice to US officials and dialling into world-famous defence headquarters, the Pentagon.

The Department of Defense already uses and widely cites Professor Edwards in its training materials issued to all army, navy and air force staff, after he was awarded the Commander’s Coin for his work into hand-arm vibration measurement.

Professor Edwards’ research has seen him rack up more than 200 published research papers, and he is currently a leading academic within the Centre for Integrated Design and Construction.

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