Quick Start Guideline: Office

This guideline is intended to help businesses improve office work and help prevent pain at work. For non-office work, a companion document, Quick Start Guide: General is available here.

There are three parts to the Quick Start Guideline: Office

    You can also download the combined folder and mini-posters. Useful if you only have 8½ “ x 11” letter sized paper.

    Quick Start Guide Office combined folder and mini-posters

    Office work shouldn’t hurt

    Back pain, sore necks and other Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) are a major cause of workers’ disability and costs to workers, business and society. Eliminating and reducing MSD hazards at the office is one part of creating a safe workplace.

    Small changes at work can make a big difference in preventing the development of MSD. Most people use computers in their work and at home. They use desktop computers, laptops, touch pads, tablets and cell phones. They work with them in offices, but also in warehouses, restaurants, automobiles, construction sites and at home. For simplicity, we will call all of these situations “Office Work”. The goal

    of “Office Ergonomics” is to improve health and effectiveness during office work.

    This Guide contains workplace fixes to help keep backs, shoulders, necks, wrists and eyes happy & healthy during office work. It was written mainly for small businesses. Its goal is to provide basic information and encourage firms to get started on preventing MSD at work. It is a part of a larger resource: The MSD Prevention Guideline for Ontario

    For non-office work, see the companion resource, Quick Start Guide: General.

    Note: Employers have a legal responsibility to provide a safe workplace under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act. This includes improving the workplace and implementing measures to protect workers from all hazards, including those related to musculoskeletal disorders.

    How to use the posters?

    • Use the posters as guides during walkthroughs and inspections. On the back of the poster, write observations and ideas about possible fixes for hazards.

    • Use the posters as a script to aid workers, supervisors and others during training and safety talks. Use the discussion to brainstorm possible fixes.

    • Use the posters in the lunchroom or on the Health & Safety board to alert workers to potential MSD hazards in their work and their relationship to pain and discomfort.

    • Keep looking for improvements!

    Making a Start

    Starting is the most important part of reducing back pain, sore necks, eyes and other Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD). The Quick Start Guide: Office and the companion Quick Start Guide: General give businesses a good start on preventing MSD during work.

    A workplace free of MSD hazards protects workers now, lets injured workers return to their jobs more easily and allows more people to perform jobs: male or female; old or young; tall or short. 

    For workers who have an injury or illness – including MSD – a health care professional could use the materials in this guide as a starting point and adapt the recommendations appropriately.


    • Jump straight in. Start using these posters in your workplace inspections and safety talks and then make changes to remove or reduce any hazards found.

    • Follow the steps in the folder for a more systematic approach.

    Want help?

    There are many websites with straightforward fixes for MSD hazards and many groups and organizations that you can turn to for information and help. There are partners within Ontario Health and Safety Systems and elsewhere that provide general and sector specific support.

    Next Steps

    Want to go further in your MSD Prevention activities? Go to the Basic Guideline.


    MSD prevention site factsheet

    What's New?

    Welcome to the new MSD Prevention Guideline site. We are working hard to develop it further. Look out for new content, including more "Hazards and Controls" . 


    MSD prevention site factsheet

    Introduction Factsheet

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


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    Success Stories

    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


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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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