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About Dr. Woodcock

Dr. Kathryn Woodcock is Professor at Ryerson University in Toronto, specializing in human factors engineering. She teaches accident theory, safety evaluation, and safety management systems in the undergraduate Occupational Health and Safety program and themed entertainment technology and design for the Master of Digital Media program, and also supervises undergraduate and graduate Engineering students. Her NSERC-supported THRILL Laboratory studies applications of human factors engineering and human centred design to amusement attractions, and she serves as the faculty advisor to the interdisciplinary Ryerson Thrill Club and co-director of the "Universal Creative Presents the Ryerson Invitational Thrill Design Competition". 

Dr. Woodcock is a registered Professional Engineer with degrees from University of Waterloo and University of Toronto, a Canadian Certified Professional Ergonomist, IAAPA Certified Attractions Executive, and a Fellow of the Association of Canadian Ergonomists. She is a member of national and international professional societies in human factors and ergonomics and has presented and published many papers relevant to human factors, error investigation, safety inspection, amusement attractions, and accessibility. 

She actively participates in Advisory Councils of TSSA, and ASTM Committee F24 developing amusement ride standards, and is leading joint amusement accessibility initiatives for the IAAPA Global Safety Committee and ASTM F24. In addition to publishing and presenting to academic audiences, she has presented educational content on the programs of NAARSO, AIMS, and IAAPA, and consulted to major theme parks, event organizers, and operators in the amusement attractions industry and other industries. 

Dr. Woodcock previously taught graduate and undergraduate courses in Industrial Engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology (New York) and Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo. Before joining Ryerson, she managed a research and policy unit in the Prevention Division of the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board of Ontario, and through the 1980s, she was vice-president of a large Toronto hospital and active in the Ontario health care sector.

Her past governance and voluntary experience includes a variety of boards and councils including the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council challenged to implement the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005) from 2005-2009, the Ontario Council of Regents for Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology, the Board of Governors of Centennial College in Toronto, Ontario Service Safety Alliance, the Ontario Hospital Association/Health Care Occupational Health and Safety Association, the National Captioning Institute‚Äôs Board of Directors, the Executive Council of Association of Canadian Ergonomists, and The Canadian Hearing Society. She has been recognized with awards for community service, advocacy, and voluntarism, including the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship and honours from professional societies and community organizations including the Safety Impact Award from the Technical Standards and Safety Authority, the Citizenship Award from the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers and Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario, and the Outstanding Alumni Medal from the University of Waterloo Faculty of Engineering. 

Recent and ongoing projects have included:

  • developing aids for investigating and recording human error;
  • studying safety inspection and the use of performance supports;
  • analysing amusement rider behaviours and ride accident reports;
  • applying human factors interface design principles to amusement rides;
  • accessibility and risk-informed eligibility for participation in amusement rides
  • education, work, and health profile of deaf and hard of hearing Canadians;
  • and prevention of musculoskeletal injury for sign language interpretation.