Ontario raising awareness for workplace ergonomics

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

In an effort to raise awareness for musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and other ergonomic ailments during Global Ergonomics Month, Ontario workplace health and safety associations are hosting a variety of learning sessions, webinars and training events on the subject in October and November.

Topics range from how to conduct an assessment of office ergonomics to demystifying ergonomics for the modern office, with training events and learning sessions to be held in various locations around the province, including Ottawa, Windsor and Sarnia.

In the mining sector, for example, the Ontario government is targeting MSD hazards, slips, trips and falls in mines and mining plants during workplace inspection blitzes. The blitzes are taking place from October 2 to November 30, 2017, and will involve Ministry of Labour inspectors visiting mining workplaces to inspect for any hazards that can increase the risk of MSDs during manual material handling tasks and when using equipment that can cause hand-arm vibration.

“Everyone in the workplace has a role in preventing MSDs,” said Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour, in a press release. “The enforcement initiative and other activities during Global Ergonomics Month will help ensure workers in Ontario return home safe and sound at the end of each working day.”

MSDs are injuries and disorders of the musculoskeletal system, including muscles, tendons, nerves and spinal discs, and can develop from continuous exposure to awkward or sustained posture, repetitive work, or exertion such as lifting, pulling and pushing heavy objects and equipment. MSDs are the most common type of injury resulting in lost time at work that is reported to Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

“MSDs cause pain and suffering for thousands of workers every year and cost Ontario workplaces millions of dollars due to absenteeism and lost productivity,” said Marcelle Crouse, acting chief prevention officer at the Ministry of Labour. “Our goal is to protect workers on the job. We’re working together to build awareness of MSD hazards and prevent injuries.”

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