APRIL 27, 2015 – Representatives of labour and industry joined researchers at Laurentian University today for the official opening of the new laboratory and research facility at the University’s Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH).
The laboratory will support numerous research projects led by the CROSH team, with the aim of reducing or eliminating occupational injury and illness in the workplace.
“We are excited to be moving forward with studies and research projects that will have an impact on the lives of workers and working families in our communities. The new research laboratory will be instrumental in carrying out this work,” said Dr. Tammy Eger, Research Chair in Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) and Associate Professor in Laurentian’s School of Human Kinetics.
Laurentian University has committed 1,695 sq. ft. of new laboratory space and 629 sq. ft. of office and meeting space to support the research work of CROSH and the research Chair in OHS. To foster transformative and collaborative research, a dedicated lab for motion analysis, advanced biomechanics and ergonomics research has been relocated next to the CROSH laboratory.
CROSH was established in 2008 by Laurentian University to provide a formalized structure for industry, safe workplace associations, labour groups, government organizations and researchers to share workplace injury and disease problems and solutions.
“Researchers at Laurentian have been building on the expertise found in Sudbury for more than a decade now, and this is a significant step forward for CROSH,” said Laurentian University President and Vice-Chancellor Dominic Giroux. “We acknowledge the support of many partners who have helped to build a top-notch facility to house this important research.”
Funders and supporters of CROSH include the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation,
Vale, Teck, Domtar, United Steelworkers, Mine/Mill Local 598/Unifor, William Shaver, United Association Local 800, Homer Seguin (in memoriam), Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services, Association of Canadian Ergonomists Ontario Region, Provix, Workplace Safety North and Laurentian University.
Renovations to the CROSH lab and furnishings totaled $130,000 and another $100,000 will be spent in the next year to support the purchase of new research infrastructure.
CROSH brings together researchers with expertise in ergonomics, human factors, occupational health, mental health and wellness, fatigue, occupational physiology, labour studies and epidemiology and occupational disease. CROSH has mobilized 25 faculty researchers from Laurentian, encompassing five faculties (Science, Engineering and Architecture; Health; Arts; Education and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine).
The lab will also support undergraduate and graduate student research work. There are currently over 15 graduate student members and 25 undergraduate student members of CROSH.
The establishment of the CROSH lab at Laurentian University will ensure the research team has the tools and infrastructure to solve the critical occupational health and safety problems facing northern Ontario industries so they can eliminate occupational injury and disease from their workplaces.
CROSH researchers are leading research to understand the link between mobile equipment design, accidents and operator injury. Previous research has evaluated line-of-sight, vibration and working postures associated with operating mobile mining equipment. This research has led to improved design of an operating cab, and the installation of cameras to improve line-of-sight. More recently the team has also researched the link between poor sleep hygiene, fatigue and injury and accident risk in underground mining. The CROSH lab will enable this team of researchers to continue this work with their partners and initiate new research to evaluate the impact of virtual reality and simulation training to enhance mobile equipment operator safety.
In 2013, the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) reported a total of 195,393 registered workplace injury or illness claims. There were 82 traumatic fatal injuries in Ontario. Of the non-fatal injuries, more than 40-thousand resulted in time lost from the workplace with sprains and strains accounting for 40% of all lost-time claims.