Ontario to launch health-care blitz focusing on musculoskeletal disorders

Ontario will inspect health-care facilities during a province-wide blitz this fall checking for hazards that can lead to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

“Health-care workers take care of our loved ones and we all have a role in helping prevent MSDs at work. These blitzes are a key part of ensuring every worker in Ontario’s health care sector return home each day, safe and sound, said Yasir Naqvi, minister of labour.

In September and October, Ministry of Labour inspectors will visit long-term care homes, health and community care services, retirement homes and other health-care workplaces. They will ensure that proper procedures are in place for client handling and manual materials handling to prevent MSD injuries among staff.

“Fostering healthy work environments and building a culture of safety is vital for our nurses and personal support workers, and helps to ensure the highest quality patient care, said Deb Matthews, minister of health and long-term care.

MSDs are injuries and disorders of the muscles, tendons, nerves, joints and spinal discs. They can develop as a result of repetitive work, forceful exertions such as heavy lifting and awkward postures.
The blitz will focus on:

• client handling, including lifting, transferring and repositioning of clients?• manual materials handling, including lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling and carrying of
• use and maintenance of carts in housekeeping and other support service areas.

The blitz is part of the province’s Safe at Work Ontario enforcement initiative to ensure compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations.

In 2011, MSDs accounted for 41 per cent of all WSIB lost-time injuries, 34 per cent of new claim costs and 36 per cent of days lost at work in Ontario.

Since 2008, ministry inspectors have conducted more than 345,000 field visits, and 52 inspection blitzes.
Inspectors have issued more than 560,000 compliance orders in Ontario workplaces.