MSI Prevention Guidebook

The Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC is proud to introduce the MSI Prevention Guide, a source of guidance to an organization in implementing an ergonomics program at their workplace.

An MSI (Musculoskeletal Injury) is an injury or disorder of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, nerves, blood vessels or related soft tissue including a sprain, strain and inflammation, that may be caused or aggravated by work. (WorkSafeBC, 2015).

Ergonomics (or human factors) is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance. (International Ergonomics Association, 2015).

MSIs, including strains and back strains, took up around 69% of the top five injury claims in BC in 2013 (WorkSafeBC). This demonstrates the need to introduce ergonomics programs at workplaces to prevent the occurrence of MSIs. According to WorkSafeBC’s Industry Safety Information Centre, MSI injuries cost BC Employers over $1.66 Billion dollars in claims over the last 5 years. In fact, just under 40 cents of every dollar spent on claims in British Columbia go to MSI related injuries.

The MSI Prevention Guide was developed taking into consideration WorkSafeBC’s OHS Regulation 4.46 to 4.53 which covers the risk factors, identification by assessment, and controls to be put in place. They also state the components of an ergonomics program by discussing the education and training needed and the evaluation of the program.

This guidebook provides simple yet succinct information on how to develop a program while following the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle framework.

The Five Steps to MSI Prevention outlined in detail in the guidebook are as follows:

STEP 1: Identify the Problem and Review the Current Situation

STEP 2: Identify the Resources Available and Constitute Ergonomics Team

STEP 3: Conduct Ergonomics Assessment with Systems Approach

STEP 4: Review Recommendations with Joint Health and Safety Committee/Management and Make Necessary Changes

STEP 5: Regular Evaluation of the MSI Prevention Program

A developed MSI prevention program is given consideration as a part of the Occupational Safety Standard of Excellence audit. OSSE is the BC Manufacturing sector’s health and safety standard and audit element C.11 looks into various process and procedures put in place to prevent and mitigate the risks of MSIs.