LTU engineering prof wins early career award to study preventing electrical accidents

SOUTHFIELD—Ahmed Al-Bayati, assistant professor of civil and architectural engineering at Lawrence Technological University, has been named a winner of the Thomas Glavinich ELECTRI International 2021 Early Career Award.

ELECTRI International was founded in 1989 as the nonprofit research arm of the National Electrical Contractors Association. It sponsors research that leads to a safer and more efficient electrical industry. The early career award recognizes young researchers doing work deemed important to the industry. Only two awards are granted per year in the entire country.

Ahmed Al-Bayati. Lawrence Technological University photo

Al-Bayati presented a proposal for research, “Satisfying the Need for a Systematic Incident Investigation Learning Program,” to develop a system of learning lessons from occupational accidents where electrical construction workers are injured or killed on the job.

Under the award, Al-Bayati will conduct a 10-month research project. He will work with a task force of ELECTRI members and the National Electrical Contractors Association Michigan Chapter on the project.

Al-Bayati noted in the proposal that in a study of workplace injuries and deaths, “the most concerning finding was the repetition of direct causes of fatal and non-fatal incidents among electrical construction workers for the last 30 years.” That troubling repetition, he argued, “should not be viewed as a normal process of body mechanisms that normally fail from time to time; instead, it should be considered a quality problem that must be controlled.”

He said the fact that the same accidents happen over and over could be corrected by “creating a comprehensive incident investigation program that is tailored to the needs of the electrical construction industry,” addressing the leading causes of fatal and severe injuries. Included will be a benchmark study to identify direct and root causes of such incidents, focus groups with safety managers from the electrical industry on those causes, and disseminating a comprehensive accident investigation and prevention program.

Josh Bone, ELECTRI executive director, said in a letter to Al-Bayati that the hope is “your project will result in publishable product recognizing your institution and ELECTRI International, and that this project will open the door for future collaboration … in a more traditionally funded research context.”

Lawrence Technological University,, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers nearly 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 100 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

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