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ECU plans grad course in occupational safety

(Sept. 20, 1993)   —   With toxic chemicals, volatile fluids and complex machines at the heart of industrial manufacturing, it’s no wonder East Carolina University’s technology program is turning its attention to safety. There are fingers, toes, eyes, ears, lungs and even lives at stake.
This fall, the ECU School of Industry and Technology hired Dr. Mark Friend to help the school develop a concentration of courses in occupational safety and health. The courses are for the master’s program in Industrial Technology.
Friend is a leading expert on the subject. He helped to build one of the nation’s largest occupational safety programs at Murray State University in Kentucky. He said he believes he can also help establish a successful program at ECU.
“The continuing and growing need for occupational safety and health professionals is a results of increasingly stringent safety and health legislation,” he said.
It is also the result of employers that recognize that viable safety programs are good business.
Friend said employers can reduce their Worker Compensation payments “dramatically through the use of appropriate loss control techniques.”
“Our graduates will learn how to reduce Worker Compensation costs and save the employer money in other areas related to safety,” he said.
The goal of occupational safety and health concentration will be to prepare students to deal with a wide range of issues in the workplace. Students will take courses in safety and health law, environmental hazardous materials management, ergonomics, industrial hygiene, fire protection and prevention, and aspects of safety.
A key component is a requirement for students to work full-time for at least three months before graduation.
Friend is a native of Fairmont, West Virginia. He was formally the chairman of the Department of Occupational Safety at Murray State University. The bachelor’s and master’s degree programs at Murray State, with over 400 students enrolled, is the largest in the nation.

Friend said ECU would become one of only a few schools in the country with a graduate level concentration in occupational safety and health.
Dr. A. Darryl Davis, the dean of the School of Industry and Technology, said the development of the courses is in response to the needs of graduates who are finding that their careers include responsibilities for occupational safety and health. In addition, he said the courses answer the demand for more leadership in employee safety.
“The tragic fire (at a chicken processing plant) at Hamlet has served to focus attention to workplace safety and has spurred actions on a number of fronts,” Davis said.
“Efforts to improve workplace safety have resulted in legislative mandates requiring large and small businesses as well as public agencies to cope with increasingly complicated regulations, broader enforcement initiatives, and changing technologies,” he said.
Davis said the proposed concentration in occupational safety and health would help increase the pool of highly educated professionals in this field. It would also enable the university to develop outreach educational programs for industrial and governmental professionals.
“We will be educating our students to help management save the fingers, eyes and lungs of their employees,” Friend added.
“It is our response to statewide and national emphasis on keeping people safe and health