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In Ontario, “The health and safety representative, or the joint health and safety committee (JHSC) where applicable, contribute to workplace health and safety because of their involvement with health and safety issues, and by assessing the effectiveness of the IRS.” For more information, please refer to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the Internal Responsibility System (IRS).
MSD hazards are still covered by the “General Duty Clause” 25(2)(h), It remains the employer’s responsibility to identify and control their hazards
The 3 primary MSD hazards include high forces exerted by workers, awkward postures and repetition. 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. There are specific approaches to recognizing and assessing MSD hazards and selecting and implementing controls. Assessment methods range from simple hazard identification questions to detailed assessment tools. Training on these specific topics by competent instructors should be done. Participation of workers in MSD prevention activities is especially important.
Changes to the work environment is the preferred approach to MSD hazard control compared to administrative controls, such as “lifting properly” and job rotation. Administrative controls on their own have not been shown to be effective as MSD hazard controls. Therefore, they should not be used as the only control.
Specific training on MSD and associated hazards by a competent instructor is required for H&S Representatives and JHSC to identify MSD hazards in the workplace and assist in the development of controls. Participation of workers in MSD prevention activities is especially important.
Prevention of MSD is sometimes the responsibility of a separate “Ergonomics” committee or program. This has the advantage that it permits a sub-group of the committee to focus on ergonomics as a way of preventing MSD. The downside is that this small group may become separated from the main health and safety program, fall “off-the radar”, and become ineffective.
Workplace Inspection Checklist for MSD Hazards
A workplace inspection resource to identify tasks where there may be increased MSD risk.
MSD hazards must be treated the same as any other workplace hazard.
Quick Start Guideline: General
This resource demonstrates common solutions to control MSD hazards that can be found in many workplaces.
This resources provides solutions to control common MSD hazards in computer-based office work.
Health and Safety Program: How to Incorporate MSD Prevention
Learn how to incorporate MSD prevention steps into your organization’s health and safety program.
The Basic Guideline is a step-by-step guide including links to specific resources to assist in MSD prevention activities.
Ergonomics Programs or Participative Ergonomics are frequently used for MSD Prevention. Incorporating MSD prevention into the organization’s management system offers many advantages.
We are working to continuously develop the MSD Prevention Guideline. Watch for new content, including more resources and 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.
Frequently asked questions. There are lots of myths about preventing MSD at work. With good information and actions, MSD can be prevented.
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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.
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.