Healthcare Professional

Paramedics providing care for a patient to highlight the role of healthcare professionals as stakeholders in MSD prevention.

A health care professional who treats a person with a work-related MSD will need to outline any limitations to activity. For example, a person with a shoulder strain, may be advised to position their work close to their body between the level of their chest and waist, and to minimize the weight handled. 

The person with the MSD, their employer, and the WSIB use updates in abilities from health care professionals to identify safe and suitable work

The  MSD Prevention Guideline, and in particular the mini posters in the Quick Start Guide, can be used to educate patients on the workplace factors that generally increase the risk and re-aggravation of MSD.

Five Facts for the Healthcare Professional from the MSD Prevention Guideline


  • There is strong evidence that physical factors in the workplace and how work is organized greatly increase a person’s chance of developing an MSD, and may influence recovery and re-aggravation of the MSD. Despite this evidence, it sometimes happens that a person’s low back or shoulder pain is attributed to individual factors such as “susceptibility” or “predisposition”, and to activities such as “gardening”. This does not take away from the separate and substantial contribution of workplace MSD hazards to the development and aggravation of MSD experienced in the workplace.


  • Key MSD hazards include high forces exerted by workers, awkward postures, repetition, vibration, local contact stress and cold. One or more of these are seen in tasks such as lifting from the floor; twisting when lifting; working with arms overhead; gripping or holding objects or tools for extended periods, especially in a non-power grip; using vibrating tools; prolonged standing and long hours working with a computer.


  • By themselves, job rotation and “lifting properly” have not been shown to be effective as MSD controls.  There is no evidence to support the use of lumbar support belts – or back belts – to prevent back injury, and the Ministry of Labour warns of the potential health risks in wearing them for this purpose. There is evidence to support that changes in work activity based on ergonomic principles will help to reduce MSD hazards.


  • For low back pain, lifting objects from the floor is the largest risk factor, rather than the object weight alone.


  • People differ in the level of MSD hazard that causes injuries and disorders, just like any other occupational hazard, such as noise. So reports of pain and discomfort of one or a number of workers act as an early warning sign that some job tasks are overloading parts of the body. If multiple people show similar patterns of pain doing comparable work, it greatly increases the likelihood that a substantial MSD hazard is present in their work. This does not mean a single worker’s report can be ignored however.

The Healthcare Professional may find the following sections of the Guideline of most interest:

  • The Quick Start Guide

    • This resource, written in non-technical language, may be useful when educating patients/clients about workplace factors that generally increase the risk and aggravation of MSD.




MSD prevention site factsheet

What's New? 


We are working to continuously develop the MSD Prevention Guideline. Watch for new content, including more resources and case studies.



MSD prevention site factsheet



Download the factsheet introducing the MSD Prevention Guideline for Ontario website.


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Case Studies 


Read success stories and case studies about preventing MSD. These stories may apply to your workplace and help you make the right decision.



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Frequently asked questions. There are lots of myths about preventing MSD at work. With good information and actions, MSD can be prevented.




WSIB's Health and Safety Excellence Program


Why join?


Keeping your team safe and healthy at work is good for business. WSIB's Health and Safety Excellence program provides a clear roadmap to improve safety in your workplace, whether you're just getting started or want to improve systems and processes you already have in place.


No matter how large or small your business is, the Health and Safety Excellence program can help. Connect with a WSIB-approved provider who can help you address your business’s unique health and safety challenges – and you can earn rebates for the work you do to improve your workplace health and safety. 


Check out the Health and Safety Excellence Program website for more information on the program and the benefits.



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DISCLAIMER: CRE-MSD receives funding through a grant provided by the Ontario Ministry of Labour. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Province.

Workplace Solutions to Back Pain, Shoulder Tendinitis, Tennis Elbow & Other Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD):
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