From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Ontario Sets Up Ergonomics Advisory Board

On Monday, the Ontario government announced the creation an ergonomics advisory committee to develop recommendations on ways to reduce ergonomics-preventable injuries in the workplace.

“In 2003, there were over 40,000 musculoskeletal injuries to workers, largely due to overexertion or ergonomic problems. That’s over 40 percent of all workplace lost-time injuries,” said Ontario Labour Minister Chris Bentley in a press statement.”

According to the Workers Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario, work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in 2003 cost businesses in Ontario approximately $60,000 per injury in lost productivity, retraining, rehiring, damage to equipment and workers compensation insurance.

“This is the key message — most employers don’t realize how much an injury will really cost them,” said Bentley. “The simple fact is you have to get control of [workplace MSDs] because they are the fastest growing types of injuries.”

Panel members, all representatives of industry, retail, and service industries, labour and employer groups, among others, will have their first meeting on Monday, March 7, 2005. The task of the panel will be to examine best practices, policies and enforcement options for addressing the cause of MSDs in the workplace.

Members of the advisory committee have been recruited over the past few months and will be chaired by Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour, Kevin Flynn. The group will report back after six months to the Labour Minister. Expectations for the committee include a recommendation for building overall awareness of the risks of work-related MSDs; province-wide ergonomics regulations could also be considered.

If regulations are recommended, Ontario will not be alone — both British Columbia and Saskatchewan have existing ergonomics regulations.

Sources: Globe and Mail; Ontario government