A program announced recently in the Canadian province of Ontario aims to increase awareness about ergonomic-related injuries in the workplace. Called “Pains and Strains,” it will focus on education and inspection.
Introducing the program at a press conference on January 26, Ontario Labour minister Steve Peters said it focuses on musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). He described MSDs as a significant but often overlooked workplace hazard. “Injuries such as back pains and joint strains account for 42 percent of all lost-time injuries,” he said, and prevention programs have been shown to have many positive outcomes.
The program begins on April 1, according to the Ministry’s press release, when Labour Ministry inspectors will focus on MSD risk factors during inspections of high-risk workplaces in the industrial and health sectors. Each organization’s experience with pains and strains will be reviewed, along with their preventive steps. An information sheet that outlines ways to identify and prevent ergonomic-related injuries will supplement the on-site measures.
The program implements the recommendations of the Minister of Labour’s Ergonomics Advisory Panel, which has representation from business and labour.
British Columbia and Saskatchewan remain Canada’s only provincial jurisdictions with ergonomics regulations. Ontario’s new program won’t make a third any time soon, but the January 26 press conference suggests the province is ramping up its efforts to reduce MSDs. “By targeting workplace pains and strains, we are protecting Ontario’s workers and strengthening our economy,” the Labour minister explained.
Source: Ontario Ministry of Labour
Editor’s Note: The Ergonomics Report