Health and safety centre unveils Workplace Simulator in Sudbury

Research lead Dominique Gagnon, right, of the Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH), looks on as Ric deMeulles, of the CROSH advisory board, tries out a robotic motion platform located in the Workplace Simulator (W-SIM) lab at the CROSH open house at the Cliff Fielding Research, Innovation and Engineering Building at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ont. on Wednesday December 4, 2019. The open house showcased the W-SIM, which, according to a release from the university, "is the only facility of its kind in the world and can recreate almost any Northern Ontario workplace environment within a controlled laboratory setting. It integrates a robotic motion platform to simulate vibration; an environmental chamber to control temperature and humidity; a virtual reality eye-tracker to simulate workersÕ surroundings; and a cardiorespiratory diagnostic system to measure human responses. This allows researchers to solve real-world workplace problems using work-task simulation." John Lappa/Sudbury Star

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Laurentian University’s Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH) hosted an open house Wednesday showcase its fully operational Workplace Simulator, or W-SIM.

W-SIM is the only facility of its kind in the world and can recreate almost any Northern Ontario workplace environment within a controlled laboratory setting. It integrates a robotic motion platform to simulate vibration; an environmental chamber to control temperature and humidity; a virtual reality eye-tracker to simulate workers’ surroundings; and a cardiorespiratory diagnostic system to measure human responses.

“Having the ability to simulate the workplace allows researchers or industry partners to test innovative equipment solutions more extensively before testing them in the workplace environment,” Dr. Sandra Dorman, director of the Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH), said in a release.

“This benefits the company because often equipment that fails in the workplace won’t be tried a second time. It also benefits the workplace because fewer work-hours need to be committed to testing a novel application while doing day-to-day business.”

The technology allows researchers to solve real-world workplace problems using work-task simulation. The possible applications of the W-SIM are vast, CROSH officials said. They include developing and assessing novel technologies to manage heat stress, vibration exposure, or line-of-sight issues.

Research lead Dominique Gagnon, left, of the Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH), and student Nick Beckett-Brown provide a demonstration of the environmental chamber located in the Workplace Simulator (W-SIM) lab during the CROSH open house at the Cliff Fielding Research, Innovation and Engineering Building at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ont. on Wednesday December 4, 2019. John Lappa/Sudbury Star/Postmedia Network John Lappa / John Lappa/Sudbury Star

It is also capable of testing an individual’s fitness for duty, working while fatigued, or understanding how workers manage situational awareness.

Although W-SIM was developed primarily to research and solve complex workplace problems, CROSH is actively seeking out partnerships with individuals or industries outside of Laurentian University by helping them access the W-SIM for unique applications or equipment testing.

Housed in the Cliff Fielding Building, the Workplace Simulator is a component of the Purdue Central Analytical Facility. Serving Northern Ontario, the CROSH Workplace Simulator provides state-of-the-art infrastructure for the design of research studies or service contracts. It gives clients the unique ability to simultaneously collect data, conduct experiments, make human physiological measurements, and test materials, equipment, and personnel.

“We congratulate CROSH and we gratefully acknowledge the funders whose support has been so crucial to our ambitious research program,” said Robert Haché, president and vice-chancellor of Laurentian University.

“The Workplace Simulator would not have come to fruition without the foresight and financial support from both federal (FedNor, Canadian Foundation for Innovation) and provincial groups (Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, Ontario Research Fund) in addition to internal support from Laurentian University’s Goodman School of Mines. These investments demonstrate the high degree of confidence that our leaders have in the University and in CROSH’s mandate to lead research excellence in the field of occupational safety and health.”

 

sud.editorial@sunmedia.ca

 

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