Denmark calling – Dr Kirsten Olsen joins a panel of international experts on creating healthy workplaces

Dr Kirsten Olsen, our senior lecturer in occupational health and safety, joined a panel of international experts at a one-day research seminar on ‘Human factors in production systems – the vision forward’ at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) in Lyngby, Denmark.

Her presentation was on ‘How to teach health and safety to engineering students’. It reflected on her experience of developing courses on creating good work environment (Occupational Health and Safety (OSH)) for engineering students at DTU and for health students and occupational health and safety students at Massey University. It further reflected on her PhD research at DTU on the effects of new technology on the work environment and her recent research in the Centre for Ergonomics, Occupational Safety and Health, School of Public Health at Massey University on OHS practitioners’ strategies and effectiveness. Further she related the presentation to her practitioner experiences as an engineer and with engineers as a union adviser and as an environment, health and safety manager in a large US-owned Danish company.

The Research seminar brought together a panel of international experts from all over the world in order to reflect on advances initiated at DTU, and more widely in Scandinavia, by the retiring Professor Per Langaa Jensen. Professor Jensen was Dr Olsen’s PhD supervisor and also a recent international visitor to Massey, where he examined one of our PhD student’s thesis on how to improve OHS in small businesses. He also advised the Department of Labour - now WorkSafe New Zealand - on the effect of national regulation when they were in the process of designing the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

Dr Olsen also held research meetings in Copenhagen with an international research team, of which she is a member, on how to evaluate (using realist analysis) national efforts to improve work environment. She participated in a workshop on ‘how to use chronicle workshops’ – a method which her current PhD student, Mark Lidegaard, will use in case studies to determine the uptake and use of the ACC Moving and Handling of People Guidelines.


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