Professor Sylvie Nadeau

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

September 16, 2015
Sylvie Nadeau is a full professor
in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at ÉTS.
Sylvie Nadeau, an industrial engineer with a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, is a full professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Her field of expertise encompasses both integrated risk management for occupational health and safety and the prevention of musculoskeletal injury.

Her current research focuses primarily on three sectors, namely, mining, nanotechnology, and aviation (specifically, the de-icing of aircraft wings, which exposes workers to many hazards). These hazards depend on a series of often interrelated factors, including workload and working conditions, the presence of contaminants, communications, the use of lean processes, and others.

Sylvie Nadeau favours a systematic and interdisciplinary approach in accordance with her belief that solutions to complex cases, such as mining extraction, require examining the situation through a wide lens. She analyzes all available data – including toxicology, health, ergonomics, safety, and industrial engineering – to build information systems and implement processes to support decision making that take into account commercial viability and occupational health and safety requirements.

Certain categories of workers are increasingly vulnerable

Sylvie Nadeau is also interested in the realities that self-employed and versatile workers face in their diverse, unpredictable, and ever-evolving work settings. They tend to work with little supervision and receive inadequate support with respect to occupational health and safety. In a world where pressure to improve productivity, relentless technology changes, and the new “mass customization” paradigm all contribute to increased insecurity in certain parts of the labour market, these workers are particularly vulnerable.

Thirty or so industrial partners are associated with this researcher’s work. She also receives funding from many organizations: NSERC, IRSST, FRQS, FRQNT, and FRQSC.

Sylvie Nadeau’s interest in occupational health and safety has its roots in art and fiction. In fact, she avidly read and was strongly influenced by Émile Zola’s novels depicting workers’ inhumane working conditions during the industrial revolution. This passion turned into a calling, which has led to a brilliant career.

“Occupational hazards aren’t necessarily dangerous if we know how to control them.”


For information
Service des communications ÉTS
Chantal Crevier
514 396-8800, poste 7893

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