Musculoskeletal Injuries and Safe Lifting

The Ontario Health & Safety Act (OHSA) outlines an employer’s
responsibility for the safety of their employees as follows -
“a supervisor shall take every precaution reasonable
in the circumstances for the protection of a worker “
R.S.O. 1990, c. O.1, s. 27.
The Occupational Health & Safety Act (posted on the
health & safety board in your operation) stipulates
that your Employer and Supervisor must take every
reasonable precaution to protect you from injury
Workplace Injury Statistics
Unfortunately, injuries sometimes still occur. Here are a
couple of interesting Ontario workplace statistics.
85.5% of workers in the Province of Ontario will
suffer a work-related back injury over the course of
their life.
The average claim cost per year is roughly
Musculoskeletal Injuries (MSI)
The most common injuries are back injuries which are
considered part of the MSI group.
MSI’s are a group of conditions that involve primarily the
nerves, tendons and muscles, and supporting structures.
They represent a wide range of disorders, which can
differ in severity from mild periodic symptoms to severe
chronic and serious conditions.
Carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and lower back pain
are all examples of Musculoskeletal injuries or disorders.
Who is at risk for an MSI?
Everyone is at risk but
MSI’s can be avoided
Symptoms of MSI’s
Early fatigue or lack of endurance
Decreased strength/weakness
Tingling, numbness, burning, loss of sensation
Sensation of instability
Symptoms develop over weeks, months, or years and
become more disabling if they are poorly managed.
Risk Factors
Repetitive movements with lack of rest/recovery time (ex. using a
screwdriver or doing computer work)
Using excessive force
Awkward/Incorrect posture when lifting
Bending, twisting, overhead reaching (ex. movement and storage of
Sustained or static working positions (ex. sitting at a computer desk or
standing at a cash register)
Inadequate warm-up and preparation
Improper lifting technique (ex. using one’s back, not legs, to lift)
Risk increases depending on how long a worker is exposed to the contributing
factors, how often they are exposed, and at what level the exposure is.
Some simple ways to prevent MSIs are to:
 Eliminate
or reduce exposure to practices that cause
 Redesigning the workplace environment with ergonomic
considerations in mind
 Educate workers on safe-working techniques (i.e. lifting)
Safe Lifting Techniques – When lifting an item, the
following safe lifting techniques should be employed.
Use a handcart whenever possible
Size up the weight and shape of the object to
determine if it is a one or two person job
Have a firm grip on the object
Keep the back as straight as possible (tuck in chin, no
Lift with leg muscles, not back muscles
Keep the load as close as possible to your body
Get help for heavy or awkward loads and lift in
tandem. Make sure that there is a ‘coordinator’ for all
team lifts
As part of the Internal Responsibility System, employees are responsible to
report any injuries or hazards that could result in an injury to their Employer
In the event that you do sustain an injury on the job,
you must report the injury to your supervisor
In the event that you feel that you are at risk to
sustaining a MSI, please report the unsafe condition
to your supervisor immediately.

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