October is Occupational Ergonomics Month (or Global Ergonomics Month), an outreach campaign focused on increasing awareness and advancing the science and application of ergonomics and human factors in the workplace.
And because ergonomics-related hazards are some of the main sources of workplace injuries, especially musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs). So October is the perfect time to identify and address any such hazards in your workplace, such as:
- Improper lifting techniques
- Infrequent breaks
- Poor posture while working (watch this animated guide on good posture in offices).
Employers have a duty under the OHS laws to protect workers from ergonomics-related hazards. To fulfill that duty, you should take these four steps:
- Identify and assess such hazards, such as those posed by pushing and pulling materials or equipment
- Take steps to eliminate the identified hazards, such as by lowering shelves, raising seats or making other adjustments to work stations
- Implement safe work procedures for activities likely to cause MSIs, such as manual materials handling
- Train workers on how to protect themselves from MSI, such as by using safe lifting techniques.
If senior management balks at taking these steps, tell them about a textile plant in Ontario that saved almost $300,000 from its ergonomics program. And here are seven strategies for making your ergonomics program a success.
For more articles, case studies, tools and other resources, go to the OHS Insider’s Ergonomics Compliance Centre. Examples of some of the items you’ll find there:
- Ergonomic Risk Factor Checklist
- Lifting Hazard Assessment Checklist
- Checklist for Evaluating Ergonomics Programs
- Model Worker MSI Symptom Survey
- Form for Investigating Neck, Shoulder and Upper Back Injuries
- Form for Investigating Injuries to the Hips, Knees and Feet
- Form for Investigating Elbow, Forearm and Hand Injuries.