Mobile research lab visits in North Bay

Monday, October 16, 2017

First mobile occupational health and safety research lab in Canada

The Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH) mobile research lab ended its 2017 northern Ontario tour yesterday at Workplace Safety North (WSN) headquarters in North Bay.

WSN CEO speaks to group in front of mobile research lab MCROSH

Mobile Lab (M-CROSH) is the first mobile lab in Canada equipped to simultaneously perform workplace research in occupational health and wellness, human factors and ergonomics, and occupational physiology and environment. The team studies such issues as heat stress, fatigue, equipment vibration, and their effects on workers. The mobile lab is accessible, and includes a meeting area, desktop working space, and a private clinical space for interviewing and data collection. 

“WSN and its predecessor organizations – the Pulp and Paper Health and Safety Association, the Ontario Forestry Safe Workplaces Association, and the Mines and Aggregates Safety and Health Association – have partnered with the CROSH team on many research initiatives over the years,” said Paul Andre, WSN Acting President and Chief Executive Officer. 

“Most recently, WSM partnered with CROSH on researching the physiological effects of mine rescue in recovery work under breathing apparatus. The results of that research are forming the basis of minimum fitness requirements for Ontario Mine Rescue volunteers,” said Andre. “These research results were just recently presented at the 2017 International Mines Rescue Body Conference in Russia, with extremely positive feedback from the delegates.”

Laurentian University and CROSH are known for this type of world-class research, Andre noted and that as a member of their advisory board, he had a special understanding of the importance of research from both an occupational health and safety perspective, and a northern Ontario perspective.

“Northern Ontario industry is firmly rooted in the resource sector, as is Workplace Safety North, and in particular, mining, forestry, and pulp and paper sectors. As such, the occupational health and safety issues experienced by northern Ontario workplaces are unique to the north, and the sectors WSN serves. 

“Our remote geography, higher rates of injury, claims, and disability rates among northerners are facts that support the need for CROSH and the mobile research lab. So, now the mobile lab will allow CROSH research team to reach remote areas in a way that was not previously possible,” notes Andre. “With a ten-year track record of producing research results as relevant to those on the frontline, relevant to northern communities, the mobile lab will now extend the field-to-lab-to-field research philosophy component right across northern Ontario.”

Visitors toured the lab and learned about occupational health and safety research being conducted in northern Ontario. The research team also distributed a short survey to help the CROSH team understand more about the occupational health and safety concerns of northern Ontario workers.

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Pulp and Paper Health and Safety Research Update