A new musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) online awareness and prevention tool has recently been posted to the Ministry of Labour web site.
The Pains and Strains in the Workplace tool guides the user to an employer stream of information or a worker stream. The user then selects a body part that is vulnerable to MSD development to learn more, including: risk factors responsible for MSD development, preventive action, and what should be done if employees experience MSD-related symptoms.
For workers, this online tool provides basic information designed to help link their pain or symptoms to a specific task or risk factor. Workers are reminded to inform supervisors if they experience pain or other MSD-related symptoms.
The employer stream offers similar information. One major difference, however, relates to MSD prevention strategies. In the case of the hands and wrists for example, workers are encouraged to "Use tools/equipment that promote straight wrist postures and a power grip." Employers on the other hand are reminded to "Select tools/equipment that promotes good wrist postures and power grips."
While Ontario does not have a specific regulation on MSD prevention, MOL inspectors will order employers to act to prevent MSDs using existing provisions of the Occupational Health & Safety Act and regulations, especially the general duty clause (section 25 (2)(h)). This clause states "An employer shall take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker." Supervisors have a similar general duty to protect workers (section 27(2)(c)). The supervisor is also required to "Advise a worker of the existence of any potential or actual danger to the health or safety of the worker of which the supervisor is aware (section 27(2)(a))".
Musculoskeletal disorders, also known as repetitive strain injuries, remain the single largest source of worker injury in Ontario.
The WHSC offers a wide range of MSD/ergonomic training programs to meet the needs of joint health and safety committee members, health and safety representatives, supervisors and the general workforce. Each program is designed to raise MSD awareness and offer general and specific strategies to identify and prevent exposure to risk factors responsible for the development of MSDs. The WHSC also offers a range of information resources promoting MSD awareness.
Want to know more about the MOL Pains and Strains in the Workplace online tool?
Want to know more about MSD prevention and awareness training?
Want to know more about MSD-related resources available from the WHSC and others?
Want to know more about any of the MSD-related training and/or information resources offered by the WHSC call a WHSC representative at 1-888-869-7950 or at a WHSC office near you?