Toronto – October is Global Ergonomics Month and Ontario is taking part in this important initiative in order to raise greater awareness of musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) hazards in the workplace and where to find prevention resources.
MSDs are injuries and disorders of the musculoskeletal system, including muscles, tendons, nerves and spinal discs. Think about back injuries and back pain, and how persistent and debilitating they are, and you can see why MSDs are a significant issue for workers and workplaces.
MSDs can develop as a result of on-going exposure to such activities as repetitive work, forceful exertions such as lifting, pulling and pushing heavy objects or equipment, and awkward or sustained posture.
MSDs account for about 40% of all lost-time injuries, according to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, and they are the number-one cause of injuries in Ontario. MSDs cause pain and suffering for thousands of workers every year and cost Ontario’s workplaces millions of dollars due to absenteeism and lost productivity.
Protecting workers on the job is part of the Ontario health and safety system’s commitment to preventing injuries and illness. That’s why the Ministry of Labour will conduct increased enforcement of MSD hazards during two inspection blitzes that are taking place in October.
One will target material handling in industrial workplaces. Material handling involves the loading, unloading, storage and movement of good and supplies in workplaces, which includes manual material handling. The other will focus on heavy equipment operation at construction sites. Ministry of Labour industrial and construction inspectors will look for MSD hazards.
Ergonomics is a scientific discipline that seeks to understand the interactions of humans with elements such as tools, equipment, products, tasks, technology and environments. By studying activities in the workplace ergonomists can help workers avoid injury and perform work efficiently and in ways that are not physically harmful. MSDs can be prevented by applying the principles of ergonomics.
A number of activities will raise awareness of MSD hazards in Ontario’s workplaces
during Global Ergonomics Month. The government’s health and safety partners will participate through October with various activities, including an ergonomic assessment application, articles, resources and information seminars.
To see these and a variety of learning events and training that will take place in Ontario during Ergonomics Month, including conferences, trade shows and a webinar, and a list of tools and resources, visit www.ontario.ca/MSD.