FedNor invests $286K to support the completion of the Workplace Simulator project at CROSH

Laurentian University’s Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH) will receive $286,172 in new funding from the federal government’s FedNor program.

Members of Parliament Paul Lefebvre and Marc Serré made the announcement at the CROSH lab today in the presence of Laurentian University’s Interim President and Vice Chancellor Pierre Zundel. FedNor is awarding these funds to support the completion and operationalization of the Centre’s new Workplace Simulator.

The Workplace Simulator (W-SIM) will integrate a robotic platform (vibration; motion), environmental chamber (temperature; humidity), and virtual reality eye-tracking (line-of-sight; cognitive workload) to become the first laboratory in Canada with the infrastructure to simulate the environment and work tasks of northern Ontario industries including mining, construction and forestry.

Furthermore, the establishment of W-SIM at Laurentian University will enhance the capacity of CROSH to solve unique occupational health and safety challenges facing northern Ontario industries, including but not limited to: technologies to minimize vibration-induced injury (active seats; isolated platforms; anti-vibration drills; personal protective equipment); technologies to prevent mobile equipment accidents/worker injury (cameras; RFID tag systems and associated interfaces; cab design to improve ergonomics); technologies to address workplace physical exertion, fatigue and recovery (cooling vests; electrolyte drinks, lightweight integrated helmets systems; modified work/rest schedules).

Graduate students, and technicians at CROSH will also be trained to lead Research and Development, and Proof of Concept projects for enterprises that wish to sell products to northern Industries. The acquisition of this equipment will allow CROSH to pursue many more research contracts from northern industries, which could not be pursued in the past due to lack of equipment. These contracts will, in turn, provide excellent entry-level job opportunities for our highly qualified people beyond their graduate degrees.

The W-SIM will be installed in the Cliff-Fielding Research Engineering and Innovation building on the Laurentian University campus and is scheduled to be fully operational by the fall of 2018. 

“This combined infrastructure is one-of-a-kind and will build on the innovative research already underway at CROSH while fostering new discoveries to support meaningful changes in northern workplaces,” said Director Sandra Dorman.

“Addressing high hazards associated with the operation of mobile equipment was a priority identified in the 2015 Mining Health Safety and Prevention review,” said Paul Lefebvre, Member of Parliament for Sudbury.  “Industries such as mining, pulp and paper, and construction, where there are intrinsic hazards due to location, need research focused on solving issues relevant to their workplaces.”

“CROSH has a proven track-record of working collaboratively with northern industries and the new Workplace Simulator will dramatically enhance their capacity to respond to workplace needs,” said Marc Serré, Member of Parliament for Nickel Belt.

CROSH Research Chair Tammy Eger said, “this investment by FedNor underscores the Federal Government’s commitment to enhance occupational health and safety research and will ensure northern industries have access to infrastructure and highly qualified people for R&D in occupational health and safety.”

For more information on opportunities to collaborate on Research & Development projects with the Workplace Simulator contact CROSH (crosh@laurentian.ca) or one of the project leaders: