Preventing musculoskeletal injuries

October is Global Ergonomics Month, a concept promoted by safety organizations and educational institutions to raise awareness of ergonomics and musculoskeletal injury (MSI) hazards in workplaces.

Causes of musculoskeletal injuries include: repetitious forceful pressure, rotation and exertion of your wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles, back, and neck. Most MSIs are often better defined as sprains, strains or tendinitis.  Awkward body positioning/angles when you’re performing a task, and weather or environmental factors (cold or rain) potentially add to these MSI risks.

MSIs are common in the heavy construction industry, especially for workers who operate vehicles and equipment, use hand tools, and those performing general labour work.  Good ergonomics practices on your construction sites can help to minimize the incidence of MSIs and their impact on productivity and WCB claims costs.

Preventing MSIs needs to be a key part of your COR safety program. Keys to prevention include:

  • Identifying and assessing job-related MSI hazards (i.e. document them in your hazard assessment on a daily basis, bring it up at toolbox/tailgate meetings)
  • Putting in place controls to reduce workers’ exposure to MSI hazards
  • Advising and training workers about MSI hazards
  • Encouraging workers to follow your COR program procedures through early reporting of MSI symptoms or concerns; and
  • Following up to ensure preventive measures are working.

Consider reviewing the following resources available on the WORKSAFELYwebsite and elsewhere to help address MSI challenges on your worksites: