Construction sites may be working to improve safety, but according to labor unions in Ontario (Canada), the industry is still lacking ergonomics. And that, reports Canadian Occupational Safety, is resulting in a call for ergonomics regulations for Ontario’s employers.
Citing two recent studies showing that Canadian workers are lacking health and safety training particularly in regard to ergonomics, the magazine noted that even Ontario’s Labour Minister may be considering switching from a business climate that involves self-regulation to one that focuses on government enforcement. A recent conference sponsored by the Workers’ Health and Safety Centre and the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers, also concentrated on the same.
Currently, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) make up the bulk of occupational injuries in Ontario. “Despite being the largest classification of occupational injury, Ontario workers, except those in the health care sector, remain without regulations to help put an end to the suffering associated with [MSDs],” reports a Workers’ Centre publication.
For other Canadian provinces like British Columbia, reports the magazine, ergonomics regulations have had a positive impact on MSDs, decreasing the number of MSDs reported by 19 percent and claims costs associated with the injuries by 40 percent since the regulations were adopted in 1998.
Additionally, proponents of ergonomics regulations in Ontario also note that the economy can only benefit from government ergonomics involvement. In the construction industry, the cost of injury claims are believed to be passed on through higher building costs, and a Statistics Canada study estimates that 2.3 million Canadians over the age of 20 presently have MSDs that limit their ability to perform normal activities. Most of those MSDs are considered work-related.
Ontario’s Labour Minister may already be working toward improving ergonomics conditions throughout the province. Twenty-five new workplace health and safety inspectors have recently been hired to help fill the void left after the previous government administration substantially reduced the number of inspectors.
Source: Canadian Occupational Safety