Student innovation for tank car spills wins top prize

Iman Chalabi, an engineering undergraduate student at the University of Toronto, clinched the top prize in the James Ham Safe Design Award Competition for introducing a safety system to detect and minimize the consequences from fires, explosions and spills associated with a tank car incident.
The annual award, put on by Minerva Canada Safety Management Education, challenges Canadian university engineering students to make an original contribution toward integrating safety into engineering design.

Second place went to the team of Alex Dragojlov, Ben MacNally, Kevin Mitchell, Osama Siddique and Kyle Stewart, mechanical engineering undergraduate students at McMaster University, who designed a system to address musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) related injuries in the upper and lower back brought about by repetitive tasks and awkward work environments.

Two other university teams received honourable mention. The University of British Columbia engineering team of Andrew Wong, Kome Eto and Ada Liu, designed and built a prototype of a hydraulic portable valve operator and conducted field tests.

Also, the University of Toronto team of Shatha Abuelaish, Fei Ba, Priyadeep Jaswal and Alex Lui worked very closely with the Hamilton Professional Fire Fighters Association and received their strong endorsement for their design of a web and mobile-based system for capturing firefighters’ exposure and medical data.

"(These students) will clearly be among our future champions of health and safety in the workforce,” said Minerva Canada President and CEO Tony Pasteris.

The award honours James Milton Ham whose Royal Commission Report on Health and Safety led to the creation of Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act in 1979 and to the adoption of the Internal Responsibility System in Ontario workplaces. James Ham trained as an engineer with a secondary field of study in sociology.