BCIT, FIOSA-MIOSA Form Research Partnership

FIOSA-MIOSA Safety Alliance of BC is pleased to announce it has formed a research partnership with the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).

OHS Research, Programs & Development Manager, Manobhiram Nellutla, says, “We are very happy to be able to partner with BCIT and work together on some exciting and important new research. “

“This project provides a bridge between industry and academic research which can provide some very important solutions to industry and give researchers current industry problems to work on,” says Nellutla.

Any industry-related issue which can be resolved with new or altered equipment or technology can now be developed and evaluated by BCIT’s MAKE+ applied research group.

The research partnership will involve the development of 3D prototypes for altering or adapting existing equipment and technology based on proven industrial design research methodologies.

The work will also focus on one of the largest areas of workplace injuries – musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs). FIOSA-MIOSA, through its STENA program, already takes a systems based approach to ergonomics and, sometimes the conclusions made about tasks and workstations involve a change to the technology or equipment being used to conduct the tasks.

Simply put; the technology or equipment may simply not match to the task in a way that is safe for the worker. The costs of developing an entirely new piece of machinery can be prohibitively high. This partnership will allow prototypes of new technology to be developed and tested funded through various research funding organizations such as the NRC-IRAP and NSERC.

BCIT’s MAKE+ applied research group has the ability to produce sample prototypes with the use of 3D printers. The technology will allow expert researchers to work with industry to solve occupational hazards.

“We would like to encourage our members to come forward with situational evidence from their shop floors where they experience consistent MSI incidents at particular pieces of equipment. Once we have looked at the tasks, the procedures and all facets of the system to determine the cause(s) of the incidents, we are often left with the machinery itself,” says Nellutla.

That’s where this partnership comes in.

“Whereas we were once restricted by costs and a number of other factors which made it very difficult to change technology, we will now be able to make effective recommendations based on real world experience and testing of prototypes developed at BCIT, “he adds.

According to Nellutla, the research expertise and facilities, including 3D technology, available at BCIT is capable of developing and building prototypes of technology as simple as a hammer all the way up to the complex machinery which exists in most manufacturing industries today.

“We are very pleased to be able to announce the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with such a prestigious and respected institution as BCIT,” says Nellutla, adding, “This partnership represents an enormous opportunity for our members.”