New guideline simplifies MSD prevention

Oct 18, 2018

New guideline simplifies MSD preventionA new online MSD prevention guideline for Ontario workplaces, launched October 1 in recognition of Global Ergonomics Month, makes reducing the risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) much easier for workplaces, says WSPS Ergonomics Specialist Don Patten. "Most companies want to prevent MSDs, but they don't know how to go about it or think it's too costly and difficult."

MSD Prevention Guideline for Ontario aims to change these misconceptions, and with good reason: MSDs represent 43% of all lost-time claims, 43% of all costs related to lost time, and 46% of all days lost from work.*

Step-by-step approach simplifies the process for users

The guideline website is easy to use, interactive, and packed with resources to support all aspects of MSD prevention. An innovative tool picker lets you instantly find the best resource for the task at hand.

The website is divided into three sections geared to company size, with easy-to-follow drop down menus directing users through each step:

  • Quick Start Guideline — helps micro and small businesses increase their awareness and ability to prevent MSDs, focusing on six simple fixes to protect against injuries to workers' backs, shoulders, necks and hands, as illustrated on posters
  • Basic Guideline — coaches medium to large businesses in a problem-solving approach to MSD prevention, using a 10-step process with explanations, actions required, and how to's
  • Comprehensive Guideline — for large businesses that want to integrate ergonomics into their existing health and safety management system, this section outlines 10 steps, also with explanations, actions required, and how to's

All three sections use a similar structure so companies can use whichever section they prefer. "If you are a large business, you can still go to Quick Start to implement some things right away and then build momentum as you go from stage to stage," explains Don.

Website extras

Along with checklists, policies and other samples included in the guide, users will find an abundance of support material. "There's information on what MSDs are, what "MSD prevention" means, legal responsibilities, what to do if an MSD occurs, incident investigations, and return to work," says Don. Plus, you'll find a Q & A, success stories, and a resource library. Website content will be continuously updated by prevention system partners, according to Don.

The actual guideline is an updated and scaled-down version of an earlier document, and was developed by the Centre of Research Expertise for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders (CRE-MSD) with assistance from Ontario's health and safety system partners, including WSPS.

How WSPS can help

  • The success of any program is in its implementation. Connect with WSPS ergonomists for the most practical and innovative ways of integrating ergonomics and MSD prevention into your business.
  • We also offer a variety of ergonomic training programs. Check out our comprehensive collection of MSD resources

* "Why are Pains and Strains / Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) a Problem," Ministry of Labour,