Innovate-a-Thon: Blue Team

Oct. 14: Today we were presented with our problem for innovate-a-thon: figuring out how to solve workplace accidents. A brainstorming session followed, and we decided to focus on forklift safety. We surveyed some local employers, Black Swamp Safety Council members, and the Custom Training Solutions team for info and solutions.

Oct. 15: Today our team met early in the morning for another brainstorming session. After comparing research notes from the previous night, we quickly realized that our ideas from the previous day weren’t going to be easily implemented into modern industry. We began to look for new options, eventually deciding as a team to pursue a new idea. The concept of a safety vest with a built-in lift belt was born. After extensive research, this was decided to be the best option because there is nothing like it in the industry, and it would lead toward lowering back injuries in the workplace by improving ergonomics. Our team met with different businesses and asked questions relating to our solution. We discovered only one in five implemented safety training on lifting, with the other four having no desire to learn it. It was also discovered that nearly all the facilities didn’t use back lift belts. As we finished our trip, we bought a back lift belt for working prototypes. Back at the College, we met again and tested the lift belt to see why it wasn’t used much. The problem was obviously the discomfort in wearing it for longer than ten minutes. After that, we talked to CTS faculty to learn more about the current OSHA requirements for lifting, giving lift training to employees, and the use of back lift belts in the workplace. Finally, our group had passing students test the lift belt to get their opinion on its comfort level, which turned out to be negative if worn for extended periods. The group then decided on a final prototype design and what other facilities we needed to contact for information to aid in preparing the final presentation tomorrow.

Oct. 16: We began the day by gathering and compiling our information that we collected over the previous two days. We finished making phone calls to various corporations and began to sort through our data to determine what would be the essentials to include in the presentation. We then examined our completed prototype and tested out its fit and function on a few students. It worked very well, and we were pleased with how it turned out. The group then held a final brainstorming session to name our product. After much deliberation, the project was dubbed Project Vitae, and the product named the Vitae Vest. Vitae is Latin for “lift.” We wrapped up our day completing our presentation and doing several trial runs.

Follow our progress and check out reports from the various teams. Items will be updated throughout the week.