Laurentian University’s Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH) will receive more than $300,000 in new research funding from the Ontario government, according to Ontario’s Minister of Energy and Sudbury Member of Provincial Parliament Glenn Thibeault.

Ontario is awarding a total of $310,000 to support innovative research projects and top talent. The funding will assist CROSH researchers as they carry out three projects aimed at addressing mobile equipment hazards, advancing Indigenous occupational health and safety in Northern Ontario, and improving safety for people who work around heavy equipment.

The awards include:
• $182,000 through the MOL Occupational Health and Safety Prevention Innovation Program to support the project: Development of Knowledge Transfer Kits to Address Mobile Equipment Hazards. The project, led by Dr. Tammy Eger, aims to develop three knowledge transfer kits to address the following hazards related to the operation of mobile equipment: line-of-sight and situational awareness; exposure to vibration; and fatigue and musculoskeletal disorders.

• $68,000 through the MOL Research Opportunities Program: Mino-nokiiwin: Advancing an Understanding of Indigenous Occupational Health and Safety in Northeastern Ontario. The project will be led by Dr. Nancy Lightfoot and Dr. Darrel Manitowabi and will identify factors that compromise and contribute to mino-nokiiwin in Indigenous communities.

• $59,000 through the MOL Research Opportunities Program: Evidence for practice to support the project, improving line of sight knowledge for pedestrians working around heavy equipment. The project will be led by Dr. Alison Godwin to develop and test a line-of-sight virtual reality intervention aimed at improving line-of-sight awareness and knowledge for workers who move around heavy equipment on a daily basis at work.

These research projects were evaluated through a rigorous peer review process involving academic and industry experts and were chosen based on their research excellence and societal benefits for Ontarians, CROSH said.

“Addressing high hazards associated with the operation of mobile equipment was a priority identified in the 2015 Mining Health Safety and Prevention review,” said Thibeault. “Furthermore, addressing indigenous workplace issues will begin a conversation about what is needed to improve occupational health and safety of Indigenous peoples in the workplace.”

CROSH Research Chair Tammy Eger and Director Sandra Dorman believe these funds will help drive the development and implementation of the center’s research and innovation strategy. They also underscore the province’s commitment to the long-term sustainability of the only occupational health and safety research center addressing the specific research needs of northern Ontario.