Dr Joanne Crawford will join Victoria University of Wellington as the inaugural holder of a new academic Chair, which aims to lift New Zealand’s health and safety performance through high quality research and teaching.

Originally from Edinburgh, Dr Crawford was most recently Head of Ergonomics and Human Factors at the Institute of Occupational Medicine in Edinburgh and has previously been a Senior Lecturer in Ergonomics at the University of Birmingham and Programme Director for the MSc in Occupational Health.

She completed her PhD at the Robens Centre for Occupational Health at the University of Surrey. Dr Crawford’s research projects and consultancy work have focused on the occurrence and management of musculoskeletal disorders, including back pain and upper limb disorders, at national and European level, as well as knowledge management, ageing at work, and return to work after cancer.

“The role of the WorkSafe New Zealand Chair in Health and Safety aligns with WorkSafe’s strategic intention to enhance system leadership through growing effective partnerships to lift workforce capability,” says WorkSafe General Manager of Strategy and Performance, Jude Urlich.

“The Chair will provide health and safety academic leadership to advance New Zealand’s health and safety performance and ensure more of our workers get home healthy and safe.

“We are delighted that an appointment has been made and wish Dr Crawford every success. We expect Dr Crawford will make a significant difference in health and safety through strong relationships with health and safety professionals, unions, businesses and other government agencies,” Ms Urlich said.

Professor Antonia Lyons, head of Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Health, says the Chair is an important new role which follows the introduction of new, internationally-benchmarked Workplace Health and Safety postgraduate qualifications at the University.

“We are excited for Dr Crawford to join our growing team. She will provide health and safety academic leadership through research, teaching, and engagement and advance New Zealand’s health and safety at work performance through the promotion of greater knowledge and internationally recognised research and innovation.”

WorkSafe New Zealand will provide funding to contribute to the academic Chair establishment costs for five years from the commencement of the first Chair appointment.

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