Ontario health care blitz looking for MSDs

In the spirit of Global Ergonomics Month, Ontario Ministry of Labour inspectors will be looking for hazards that could lead to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the health-care industry throughout October.

“We hope to raise awareness of MSD hazards and prevent injuries in the workplace. We want to improve the health and safety of all workers, particularly those who work in the health care sector,” said Chief Prevention Officer George Gritziotis.

MSDs are the number 1 type of injury involving workers losing time at work that is reported to the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).

During visits to health-care workplaces, inspectors will be focusing on areas such as kitchen and food services, janitorial and housekeeping, laundry, pharmacy, laboratories, and medical clinics.

According to Ontario’s Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS), there are many preventative measures companies can take to recognize and reduce MSD hazards:
• Educate staff on the effects of MSD hazards in the workplace.
• Implement safe work practices to reduce an employee’s exposure to an MSD hazard.
• Encourage employees to report symptoms early to avoid long-term MSDs from occurring.
• Consider getting advice from a qualified ergonomist to help prioritize needs, isolate specific hazards and offer solutions to ensure a safe workplace.

“MSDs cause a tremendous financial burden for employers so it is important to help them understand how they can prevent them so they can keep their workers healthy and on the job,” said Lynn Brownell, acting president and CEO, WSPS. “It’s about working smarter, not harder.”