Human Resources Policies
Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD) Prevention

Category: Health and Safety
Sub-Category: General

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Policy Statement

The City of Toronto is committed to providing a safe and healthy working environment for all employees. In recognition that musculoskeletal disorders continue to be the most significant cause of work related injuries, the City is committed to minimizing the risk and incidence of MSDs by taking every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect employees. The City of Toronto is committed to providing financial, physical and human resources for the development, implementation and maintenance of a sustainable MSD prevention program that will ensure MSD risk factors are identified and effectively controlled.

To achieve this goal, the City will require each division to establish and maintain a MSD Prevention Program with the following elements:

  • Assign a Divisional MSD Lead to champion and co-ordinate MSD program elements
  • Ongoing training of management, supervisors, and employees (including new hires) on MSD awareness hazards and control measures; training of specialized staff (e.g., Health and Safety Consultants, JHSC members) on MSD hazard assessment and control measures
  • Accurate reporting of all MSD injuries/incidents using the Supervisor’s Report of Injury/Incident (QuatroSafety Incident Module)
  • Track and review of MSD statistics
  • MSD hazard identification and assessment
  • Control of MSD hazards through the application of engineering and/or administrative controls
  • Implementation of the Policy for Incorporating Occupational Health, Safety and Ergonomics Principles into the Purchasing Process, i.e., by proactively integrating ergonomics principles into purchasing equipment, vehicles, furniture and technology
  • Proactively integrating ergonomics principles into workplace design and work techniques
  • Annual review and reporting of MSD Program elements and effectiveness to the Occupational Health & Safety Co-ordinating Committee (OHSCC)

Application

This policy applies to all City of Toronto employees in keeping with the internal responsibility system for health and safety.

Definitions

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) - injuries and disorders affecting muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and nerves. Musculoskeletal disorders may be caused or aggravated by various risk factors in the workplace, including awkward or static postures, forceful exertions, repetitive movements, vibration or cold. MSDs do not include musculoskeletal disorders that are the direct result of a sudden, single event involving an external source, e.g., a fall or vehicle accident.

Hazard – a source of potential damage, harm or adverse health effects on something or someone under certain conditions at work


Responsibilities

The Senior Management Team will:

  • ensure that divisions implement and maintain the provisions of this Policy by establishing divisional MSD Prevention Programs
  • seek regular reports to ensure that divisions are in compliance with the Policy
  • provide the financial, physical and human resources to ensure that suitable MSD control strategies are in place
  • communicate, promote and support the implementation of the MSD Prevention Policy and divisional MSD Prevention Programs

The Division Head of each division will ensure that:

  • a Divisional MSD Lead is assigned to champion and co-ordinate program elements
  • the City’s MSD Prevention Policy and a supporting program, as customized to the needs and hazards of the division, is implemented, maintained and enforced within the division
  • initial and ongoing MSD prevention training for staff is provided within their division
  • MSD training records are maintained and made available to JHSCs/OH&S Representatives
  • MSD injuries/incidents are reported accurately using the Supervisor’s Report of Injury/Incident (QuatroSafety Incident Module)
  • MSD incident reports and divisional incident trends are reviewed and appropriate corrective actions are taken to address hazards
  • workplace JHSC inspections include the identification of MSD hazards
  • identified MSD hazards are assessed and controlled as required
  • necessary equipment and resources are provided to control MSD hazards (depending on the number and nature of controls needed, a phased-in approach may be required)
  • MSD hazard prevention strategies and JHSC concerns and recommendations regarding MSD prevention are addressed in the purchase of equipment, vehicles, furniture and technology
  • ergonomics principles are considered whenever a work environment or workstation is being designed or renovated
  • ergonomics issues are considered whenever changes in work processes or work organization are planned
  • implementation and effectiveness of the Policy and Program elements are reviewed annually
  • the divisional Annual MSD Program Report is completed and submitted to the OHSCC

Divisional MSD Program Lead will:

  • be responsible for various aspects of establishing, co-ordinating and maintaining the divisional MSD Prevention program
  • ensure the divisional MSD Program elements and effectiveness are reviewed and reported annually to the OHSCC (Annual MSD Program Report)
  • communicate, promote and support the implementation of the MSD Prevention Policy and divisional MSD Prevention Program
  • co-ordinate with the Division Head to ensure policy and program responsibilities are fulfilled

Those with managerial/supervisory responsibility will:

  • communicate, promote and support the MSD Prevention Policy and Program
  • ensure that training in MSD awareness, site-specific MSD hazards/controls and safe work practices is provided to all employees, including new hires
  • maintain records of MSD training in a manner that supports accuracy and ease of access for monitoring purposes
  • complete the Supervisor’s Report of Injury/Incident (QuatroSafety Incident Module) in the case of all reported workplace MSD incidents, ensuring that MSD incident data is recorded appropriately to support accurate statistics
  • encourage early reporting of work related MSD symptoms/incidents and respond by taking steps to investigate and control hazards
  • in consultation with JHSCs and Health and Safety Consultants:
    • review divisional and/or sectional MSD incident statistics to identify trends and take corrective action
    • conduct investigations when MSD incidents occur and incorporate MSD prevention strategies in the investigation process
    • control MSD hazards through engineering controls and/or administrative controls; elevate concerns to a more senior level if control measures are not within the supervisor’s ability to implement
    • develop safe work procedures to eliminate or reduce MSD hazards
  • where concerns are complex and additional MSD prevention expertise is necessary to resolve the issue, request assistance from the Ergonomics Consultant
  • incorporate MSD hazard prevention strategies in the purchase of equipment, vehicles, furniture and technology
  • incorporate ergonomics principles whenever a workstation or work environment is being designed or renovated
  • incorporate ergonomics principles whenever changes in work processes or work organization are planned
  • enforce the MSD prevention program through regular monitoring strategies

Workers will:

  • communicate, promote, and support the MSD Prevention Policy and Program
  • participate in MSD training as established by the division
  • practice MSD prevention strategies as per MSD training
  • comply with safe work procedures established by the division
  • correctly use the equipment provided by the employer, according to manufacturers’ recommendations
  • report to the supervisor any unsafe acts, unsafe tasks, unsafe conditions or equipment problems that create MSD hazards
  • report any MSD symptoms/incidents to the supervisor immediately and co-operate in the investigation process
  • provide suggestions to supervisors and/or JHSCs for their review regarding MSD prevention or control measures, e.g., purchasing specifications for equipment, vehicles, furniture and technology

Joint Health and Safety Committees/OH&S Representatives will:

  • communicate, promote, and support the MSD Prevention Policy and Program
  • promote MSD awareness at all times, including any special events, e.g., Health and Safety Week
  • encourage early reporting of work related MSD symptoms/incidents using the Supervisor’s Report of Injury/Incident (QuatroSafety Incident Module)
  • encourage staff to report MSD hazards to their supervisor
  • participate in MSD training; participate in training delivery as appropriate
  • review and have access to records of MSD training
  • help monitor the effectiveness of MSD training and training updates
  • review incident reports to identify MSD hazards and recommend corrective action
  • review MSD incident statistics as provided by Health and Safety Consultants to identify trends and recommend corrective action
  • incorporate MSD hazard identification and communication in regular workplace inspections
  • utilize MSD hazard assessment resources as applicable
  • advise the employer of any unsafe acts, unsafe tasks, or equipment problems that create MSD hazards
  • recommend control measures to eliminate or reduce MSD hazards
  • recommend to divisional management, on an on-going basis, strategies for incorporating MSD prevention into the purchasing process for new tools, equipment, furniture, vehicles and technology
  • provide input into the development of safe work procedures to reduce MSD hazards
  • review annually the status of their division's MSD Prevention Program and recommend improvements if needed

People, Equity and Human Rights (PEHR) and or divisional health and safety consultants will:

  • communicate, promote and support the MSD Prevention Policy and Program
  • encourage early reporting of work related MSD symptoms/incidents using the Supervisor’s Report of Injury/Incident (QuatroSafety Incident Module)
  • conduct MSD training sessions and/or provide MSD training materials
  • maintain records of MSD training that they provide in a manner that supports accuracy and ease of access for monitoring purposes
  • prepare and analyze divisional MSD incident statistics and provide to JHSCs and division heads
  • monitor corrective actions taken as identified on incident reports
  • support supervisors and JHSCs in MSD hazard identification and assessments as needed
  • assist in the investigation of MSD incidents to address hazards as needed
  • bring to the attention of divisional management any MSD hazards identified during their investigations, audits or inspections
  • encourage JHSCs to incorporate MSD hazard identification and communication in regular workplace inspections
  • recommend MSD hazard control measures to divisional management
  • provide input into purchasing specifications for new tools, equipment, vehicles, furniture and technology as needed to reduce MSD hazards
  • provide input into the development of safe work procedures to reduce MSD hazards

Ergonomics Consultants will:

  • communicate, promote and support the MSD Prevention Policy and Program
  • encourage early reporting of work related MSD symptoms/incidents using the Supervisor’s Report of Injury/Incident (QuatroSafety Incident Module)
  • conduct MSD training sessions and/or provide training materials
  • review divisional MSD incident statistics to identify trends and recommend corrective action
  • provide ergonomics leadership, expertise and consultation services to assist in identifying and controlling MSD hazards in the workplace
  • develop and/or select MSD hazard identification and risk assessment tools
  • as required, and using MSD incidence stats to determine priorities, conduct ergonomic assessments of MSD hazards and recommend suitable control measures
  • provide input into purchasing specifications for new equipment, vehicles, furniture and technology as needed
  • promote the establishment of corporate standards and corporate purchasing contracts for office furniture that meets ergonomics specifications
  • provide input into job design and the development of safe work procedures to eliminate or reduce MSD hazards, as needed
  • produce and maintain Job Demands Analyses (JDA) for jobs at high risk for MSDs
  • include hazard identification and recommended control measures when performing job demands analyses, as applicable
  • set corporate standards for workstation and workspace design, equipment design and safe work practices to reduce the risk of MSDs

Disability Management Consultants will:

  • encourage early reporting of work related MSD symptoms/incidents using the Supervisor’s Report of Injury/Incident (QuatroSafety Incident Module)
  • ensure accurate coding of work related MSD injuries
  • advise Health and Safety Consultants of MSD hazards identified through WSIB reporting
  • in consultation with Health and Safety Consultants, recommend appropriate measures to reduce exposure to MSD hazards for workers who require workplace accommodation based on MSD symptoms

Facilities Management, Strategic Policy & Planning and other divisions responsible for new construction or renovation, will ensure that:

  • any new construction considers ergonomic design principles and meets user functional requirements, including previously identified accommodation requirements
  • the design of new and renovated office work spaces conforms with the ergonomics office design guidelines

Purchasing and Materials Management Division, Information and Technology and other divisions who purchase equipment or furniture, will ensure that:

  • the Policy for Incorporating Occupational Health, Safety and Ergonomics into the Purchasing Process is fully implemented when purchasing equipment, furniture and technology that have the potential to affect MSDs

Fleet Division and any other divisions involved in the purchase or modification of vehicles will ensure that:

  • the Policy for Incorporating Occupational Health, Safety and Ergonomics into the Purchasing Process is fully implemented when purchasing or modifying equipment or vehicles that have the potential to affect MSDs

Unions and Associations will:

  • provide support and advocacy for the Policy, Programs and initiatives arising from their implementation

Occupational Health and Safety Co-ordinating Committee will:

  • provide leadership and advocacy in support of the MSD Policy and Program
  • request divisional completion of Annual MSD Program Report to ensure the implementation and effectiveness of the MSD Policy
  • with the goal of continuous improvement, initiate Policy review and amendment in response to concerns or issues raised by divisions (management and JHSCs) regarding Policy implementation
  • if needed, make recommendations to Senior Management Team regarding Policy and Program implementation

Attached documents to assist implementation of the Policy:


Legislative Authority

  • Occupational Health and Safety Act

Associated Policy

Policy for Incorporating Occupational Health, Safety and Ergonomics Principles into the Purchasing Process

Related Resources

MSD Injury statistics:

  • Supervisor's Report of Injury/Incident

MSD Hazard Identification and Assessment:

MSD Prevention and Hazard Controls:



Endorsed by

  • Occupational Health and Safety Co-ordinating Committee (OHSCC), June 6, 2007
  • Reviewed & re-endorsed by OHSCC: November 26, 2008
  • April 26, 2016
  • & December 12, 2018

Approved by

City Manager

Date Approved

July 23, 2007

Re-endorsed by OHSCC

December 12, 2018

Related information


Attachments

msd_appendix_a_processed FINAL-s.pdf (283 Kbytes)
msd_appendix_b_processed FINAL-s.pdf (217 Kbytes)
msd_appendix_c_processed FINAL-s.pdf (206 Kbytes)
msd_appendix_d_processed FINAL-s.pdf (125 Kbytes)
msd_appendix_e_processed FINAL-s.pdf (95 Kbytes)
supervisors_report_incident_processed FINAL-s.pdf (166 Kbytes)

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