Page 1


Qualified personnel Validated research Certified laboratories

Knowledge promoting prevention

Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

THE IRSST IS... Jean-Claude Martin Director Strategic Watch and Quality Management Department

Status Firmly established in Québec since 1980, the Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST) is a scientific research organization known for the expertise of its personnel and the quality of its work. The IRSST is a private, nonprofit organization. Its Board of Directors is made up of an equal number of employer and worker representatives, making it a bipartite body. The Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail du Québec (CSST) provides most of the IRSST’s funding from the contributions that it collects from employers.

Mission In the spirit of the Act Respecting Occupational Health and Safety, which is aimed at the identification of risks and “the elimination, at the source, of dangers to the health, safety and physical well-being of workers”, the IRSST’s mission is to: Contribute, through research, to the prevention of industrial accidents and occupational diseases as well as to the rehabilitation of affected workers; Disseminate knowledge and act as a scientific benchmark and source of expertise; Provide the laboratory services and expertise required for the activities of the public occupational health and safety network.

• • •

To fulfill this mission, the IRSST: Carries out and finances research in priority fields; Promotes the development of occupational health and safety research and new developments in cooperation with the scientific community; Disseminates and promotes its research findings in workplaces and the scientific community; Plays a leadership role in anticipating emerging needs, animation and coordination in the area of occupational health and safety research; Participates in the training of occupational health and safety researchers; Provides laboratory services to the CSST and its network; Promotes the development of occupational health and safety standards and regulations; Meets specific requests from various occupational health and safety professionals.

• • • • • • • •

Vision Through its leadership in occupational health and safety research, the IRSST intends to:

• Become a research centre that is vital for the operations and strategies of the CSST and its network; • Support its social partners in a context of labour/management collaboration; • Be recognized nationally and internationally; • Have a firmly established network of collaborators in research and development.

To contact the Scientific Division:

Iuliana Nastasia Researcher

Christian Larivière Researcher

Science is at the heart of the IRSST’s activities. A competent team of researchers, professionals and technicians from various disciplines is involved in over one hundred research projects and activities each year. Validated according to the strictest scientific method, these projects are often carried out in an interdisciplinary manner. They relate mainly to seven priority fields: Work Context and OHS; Noise and vibration; Protective equipment; Safety of industrial tools, machines and processes; Chemical substances and biological agents; Musculos-


keletal disorders; and Occupational rehabilitation. The projects, whose relevance and priority are recognized by a tripartite Scientific Advisory Board (labour and management representatives and members

Science supporting prevention

of the scientific community), are aimed at developing knowledge in order to better respond to the concerns of workplaces regarding the prevention of occupational injuries and the rehabilitation of affected workers. The IRSST’s Scientific Division provides quality control by mainly ensuring that research protocols and results are evaluated by peers. The projects must also conform to specific ethical criteria.

To ensure that key issues and emerging risks are not overlooked by researchers, the IRSST’s Strategic Watch Department ensures that the organization’s research fields and partners have access to an abundance of relevant information. The mandate of the strategic watch agents also includes documenting timely studies in progress or already completed elsewhere in the world, and steering the development of expertise toward prime niches. Closely related to the Strategic Watch Department, the Statistical Research and Surveillance Group uses existing OHS data sources and produces original indicators. These two departments make sure that research is linked to priority needs and the most important problems. The scientific information indexed by the IRRST’s Strategic Watch Department is accessible on its Web site:

Surveillance improving prevention

Marie-Claude Barrette Chemist

To contact the laboratories:

Simon Aubin Chemist


Every year, the scientific and technical personnel of Laboratory Services and Expertise carry out more than 70,000 environmental, toxicological and microbiological analyses for the CSST, Agences de développement de réseaux locaux de services de santé et de services sociaux (ADRLSSSS) (local health and social services network development agencies) and joint sector-based associations (JSA) or for a private clientele. It also performs the calibration, maintenance and repair of the direct-reading instruments and sampling devices used by the prevention-inspection network. The IRSST’s laboratories set themselves apart, not only through the competence and expertise of their personnel, but also through their many national and international accreditations:

• American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) – Asbestos, metals,

microbiology, silica, solvents and other organic substances, beryllium (ISO 17025 certification)

• Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) – Blood lead (recognition)

• National Research Council of Canada, Calibration Laboratory

Assessment Service – Acoustical calibration, electricity, frequency and time.

Laboratory Services and Expertise has also developed and implemented over 300 analytical methods, as well as two interlaboratory quality control programs regarding fibre counting and isocyanates.

Certified laboratories serving the OHS network


To contact the Knowledge Transfer and Partner Relations Department:

Denis Turcot Engineer

Pierre Drouin Mechanical technician

OHS research takes on its full meaning when the results it generates are useful and utilized. To promote the results of its work,  the IRSST systematically integrates the knowledge transfer concept into its research projects and activities.  Whenever the opportunity arises, the Knowledge Transfer and Partner Relations Department ensures that the people directly affected by a problem participate in the entire project. Since the success of the transfer depends on the close collaboration of its partners, the IRSST promotes cooperation in order to ensure that the research results are appropriated by CSST and JSA

Solutions applicable to the workplace

practitioners, as well as OHS professionals in companies, and that they are applied in workplaces.

Mireille Lacharité Laboratory technician

In addition to having its own research teams, the IRSST has played a major role since 1980 in the development and establishment of a community of OHS researchers in Quebec. In this regard, the Research and Expertise Division annually offers  three grant programs in order to encourage researchers from universities, research centres or private firms to carry out scientific projects or activities in OHS.  Thus, over the years, more than 800 projects conducted by external researchers have benefited from the IRSST’s financial support. The IRSST also plays  a major role in the training of new researchers and the development of their interest in OHS research.  Each year, its Graduate Studies Scholarship program allows about thirty master’s, doctoral and postdoctoral students to increase their knowledge in this field. For many young people, this program has paved the way to a career as an OHS researcher or professional.

Hub of OHS research in Québec

To find out more The IRSST presents the results of its research on its Web site in the form of a series of publications that can be downloaded free of charge.

It disseminates the electronic newsletter Info-IRSST to inform its clients and partners of the latest publications and important research news. Subscribe free of charge at the following address:

Four times a year, the IRSST publishes, jointly with the CSST, the magazine PrĂŠvention au travail, which is aimed at anyone with an interest or responsibility in occupational health and safety. Subscribe free of charge by dialling 1 877 221-7046 (toll-free), writing to the following e-mail address:, or accessing the following Web page: The Recherche de PrĂŠvention au travail section has a Web site:

Carole Bellazzi Assistant to the director/ scientific division

Production: Direction des communications, IRSST

505, boulevard De Maisonneuve Ouest Montréal (Québec) H3A 3C2 Telephone: 514 288-1551 Fax: 514 288-7636

IRSST Organizational Brochure  
IRSST Organizational Brochure  

IRSST presentation: its mission, its priorities, its personnel and its services.