Ergonomics is the science of creating a proper fit between a worker and the work environment. Employers are required by law to employ ergonomic principles in the workplace in order to prevent workplace muscular skeletal disorders (WMSD) and also to prevent existing conditions from worsening.
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety provides the following definition for WMSD: Work-related musculoskeletal disorders are a group of painful disorders of muscles, tendons and nerves. Carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, thoracic outlet syndrome and tension neck syndrome are examples. Work activities which are frequent and repetitive, or activities with awkward postures cause these disorders which may be painful during work or at rest.
The Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) requires employers to:
- Ensure workers are aware of workplace hazards
- Take EVERY precaution reasonable for the protection of workers including:
- Implementing procedures and processes that reduce the likelihood of injury from the identified hazards
- Providing information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health or safety of the worker
TRAINING of managers and supervisors will enhance your organization’s compliance with these legal obligations under the OHSA.
TRAINING is consistent with your legal obligations to operate your business with DUE DILIGENCE for the safety of your workers.
TRAINING of managers and supervisors must include:
- The meaning and implications of due diligence in workplace health and safety matters
- A thorough understanding of the legal obligations listed above
- Identifying, assessing and controlling workplace muscular skeletal disorders
- How to respond when workers report a concern, pain or discomfort
- How to recognize WMSD hazards and use WMSD hazard identification tools
- How to recognize indicators for WMSD hazards
- How to analyze injury and incident reports for WMSD trends and issues
- How to look for WMSD hazards during workplace inspections
- How to eliminate or control WMSD hazards in the workplace
Andrew Lawson, Human Rights Advisor, Learn Don’t Litigate, www.learndl.ca, 416-534-3499