Ontario safety blitz targets material handling during Global Ergonomics Month

For the second year in a row, the Ontario Ministry of Labour is focusing on hazards involving material handling during a safety blitz across the province this fall.
From Sept. 14 to Oct. 23, ministry inspectors are visiting retail outlets, wholesalers, plants, factories and other industrial sector workplaces. The blitz will includes a focus on manual material handling in support of Global Ergonomics Month in October, an initiative aimed at raising awareness of musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) hazards in the workplace.

Another blitz will focus on heavy equipment operation at construction sites, where Ministry of Labour industrial and construction inspectors will look for MSD hazards.

MSDs are injuries and disorders of the musculoskeletal system, including muscles, tendons, nerves and spinal discs. They can develop as a result of on-going exposure to such activities as repetitive work, forceful exertions such as lifting, pulling and pushing heavy objects or equipment, and awkward or sustained posture.

MSDs account for about 40 per cent of all lost-time injuries in Ontario, according to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, and they are the number 1 cause of injuries in the province. MSDs cause pain and suffering for thousands of workers every year and cost Ontario’s workplaces millions of dollars due to absenteeism and lost productivity, said the ministry.