Research evidence and workplace experiences confirm prevention of repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) also known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) is decidedly achievable.
Workers Health & Safety Centre (WHSC) offers many supporting information resources
, including reviews of the scientific literature and actual workplace case studies
. Together they demonstrate not only is prevention achievable and the right thing to do, but it is cost-effective too. Further, and perhaps most important, worker participation is key
in implementing successful workplace solutions.
Training for participation and prevention
Providing information alone however will not ensure its application. With this reality in mind, WHSC offers many ergonomics training programs
, the newest of which we are offering in virtual classrooms
this year in support of RSI Awareness Day
||Ergonomics and MSDs -- Virtual
||Friday, February 26, 2021
Register for one of the two sessions:
9:00AM - 12:00PM or 1:00PM - 4:00PM
||$20 plus HST
Space is limited so register today
Origins of RSI Awareness Day
RSIs or MSDs are the leading cause of pain and disability for workers. This broad classification of injury, year after year, accounts for upwards of 40 per cent of all lost-time claims
allowed by Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. Many more related claims are denied and even more are never reported.
More than 20 years ago and here in Ontario, a small dedicated band of worker activists began a movement to focus awareness
on these debilitating injuries, show support for the many workers whose lives have been significantly impacted and to bring much-needed attention to prevention. Ever since, on the last day in February
, workers, worker representatives and an ever-broadening community
of allies organize and participate in RSI Awareness Day events.
A host of all too common work hazards can play a role in the development
of musculoskeletal pain and disorders including repetition, forceful movements, heavy loads, excessive pace of work, awkward or fixed postures, insufficient recovery time, cold temperatures, physical trauma, psychosocial stress, and vibration.
The COVID-19 crisis presents new related concerns
for some, including the many now working temporarily from home with less than ideal workstations. Some also couple this with new sources of stress, such as juggling elder care, childcare and supervising school age children trying to learn at home and online. For others deemed essential and still reporting to a workplace, heavier workloads, less recovery time and the added stress presented by this pandemic add further to the risk of injury.
In Ontario, health and safety law places significant obligations on employers to protect workers.
This includes a general duty to identify, assess and control or eliminate exposure to all hazards including those that give rise to RSIs and MSDs. Employers must also provide information, instruction and training
including MSD awareness, safe work procedures and processes to report hazards and MSD-related symptoms including pain, stiffness, tingling and swelling in the affected area.
For workplaces under federal jurisdiction and governed by the Canada Labour Code
, employers must develop, implement and monitor a program for the prevention of hazards, including those responsible for the development of MSDs.
OHCOW ergonomic resources too!
WHSC information and training resources aimed at RSIs/MSDs prevention benefit from many of the excellent tools developed by the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW). Many of these tools are available on the OHCOW website
Early on in the pandemic we also worked together to produce a webinar on simple ergonomics solutions
workers could implement while working from home.
This month to mark RSI Awareness Day 2021, OHCOW is hosting a webinar series
of their own. Details are also available on their website
To learn more about WHSC and other training opportunities:
Contact a WHSC training services representative
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