MRO Magazine

Ontario safety blitz focuses on musculoskeletal disorders


July 20, 2010
By PEM Magazine

In September and October, the Ministry of Labour will focus on musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). This means businesses may be visited by a ministry inspector looking for hazards that put your employees at risk for sprains and strains.

According to the IAPA, "Inspectors will pay particular attention to tasks requiring workers to use their muscles to exert force to lift, push or carry items. Many of these tasks will already have been identified through an analysis of types of workplaces with a high frequency of MSD injuries and hazards."

Here are some statistics from the Ministry of Labour:

  • direct claim costs, from 2003 to 2007, of over $640 million and 6 million days of lost time
  • 43% of total lost-time injury (LTI) costs in 2008, up from 41% in 2003
  • 43% of total LTIs in 2008, up 40% from 2003
  • 15% drop in the MSD-related LTI rate from 2003 to 2008, while the total LTI rate dropped 22%

Many jobs have MSD risks, whether you work at a desk or in a manufacturing plant. You have to ensure that the work environment fits the worker.


The IAPA continues: "For example, applying ergonomic principles — reducing repetitive movements, forceful movements, and fixed or awkward positioning — early in the design phase of a new process or task adds little cost, and can prevent many MSDs. In fact, preventing MSD-related compensation claims will save you money.

The blitz goals are threefold: enhance MSD enforcement efforts, raise awareness of the importance of addressing MSDs, and identify prevention resources available to workplaces through their safe workplace association.