Policy Statement

The City of Toronto is committed to providing a safe and healthy working environment for all employees. In recognition that musculoskeletal disorders account for approximately half of all lost time incidents at the City of Toronto, the City is committed to minimizing the risk and incidence of MSDs. To achieve this goal, the City will require each division to establish and maintain a MSD Prevention Program with the following 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
  • Tracking 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 and furniture
  • Proactively integrating ergonomics principles into workplace design and work techniques
  • Ongoing evaluation of MSD Policy implementation MSD Prevention Program effectiveness

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) are injuries and disorders affecting muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and nerves. They are sometimes called repetitive strain injuries (RSIs), cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs), or sprains and strains. Musculoskeletal disorders may be caused or aggravated by various risk factors in the workplace, including repetitive, forceful or awkward movements, static posture, contact pressure, vibration, etc.

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.

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:

  • 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 incident reports and divisional incident trends are reviewed and appropriate corrective actions are taken to address hazards
  • MSD hazards are identified through the use of the MSD Hazard Identification Form (attached as Appendix A) and are assessed as necessary
  • 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 and furniture
  • 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
  • a system is in place for annual reviews of the effectiveness of the Program.
  • the status of the divisional MSD Prevention Program is reported to the Occupational Health and Safety Coordinating Committee, for inclusion in reports to Senior Management Team and Council, one year following approval of the Policy and thereafter upon request of the OHSCC

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 in the case of all reported workplace MSD incidents, ensuring that MSD incident data is recorded appropriately to support accurate statistics
  • encourage staff to report MSD incidents and respond by taking immediate 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
    • complete designated MSD Hazard Identification Forms to identify potential hazards in each job; provide copies to JHSC
    • 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 and furniture
  • 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 incidents to the supervisor 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 and furniture

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
  • 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
  • provide consultation during completion of MSD Hazard Identification Forms when appropriate
  • review and have the opportunity to provide input on all draft completed MSD Hazard Identification Forms
  • 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 and vehicles
  • 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

Health and safety consultants will:

  • communicate, promote and support the MSD Prevention Policy and Program
  • 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 the MSD Hazard ID process as needed
  • assist in the investigation of MSD incidents to address injury hazards as needed
  • bring to the attention of divisional management any MSD hazards identified during their investigations, audits or inspections
  • ensure distribution and awareness of MSD Hazard Identification Forms; provide consultation in the hazard identification process when required
  • recommend MSD hazard control measures to divisional management
  • provide input into purchasing specifications for new tools, equipment, furniture and vehicles 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
  • conduct MSD training sessions and/or provide training materials
  • maintain records of MSD training that they provide in a manner that supports accuracy and ease of access for monitoring purposes
  • 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 and furniture 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 a hazard identification and recommended control measures when performing job demands analyses
  • set corporate standards for workstation and workspace design, equipment design and safe work practices to reduce the risk of MSDs

Disability Management Consultants will:

  • use consistent coding for MSD incidents when entering WSIB incident reports
  • 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 and Real Estate Division, or other divisions responsible for new construction or renovation, will ensure that:

  • any new construction conforms with the City’s ergonomics design standard
  • the design of new and renovated office work spaces conforms with the Ergonomics Standards of the City’s Strategy and Standards for Office Space and Ergonomics

Purchasing and Materials Management Division, or 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 and furniture 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 Coordinating Committee will:

  • provide leadership and advocacy in support of the Policy and Program
  • monitor the implementation and effectiveness of the Policy through receipt of status reports from divisions
  • 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
  • communicate best internal and external MSD prevention practices to divisions (management and
  • if needed, make recommendations to Senior Management Team regarding Policy implementation

Additional documents to assist implementation of the Policy:

  • Appendix A: MSD Hazard Identification Form
  • Appendix B: MSD Policy and Program Question and Answer document
  • Appendix C: Guidelines for MSD Hazard Control Measures
  • Appendix D: Tracking Sheet for MSD Hazard Identification
  • Appendix E: MSD Hazard Identification, Assessment and Control Process Flow Chart

Legislative Authority

Occupational Health and Safety Act

Associated Policy

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

Endorsed by

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

Approved by

City Manager

Date Approved

July 23, 2007

Reviewed by OHSCC

April 26, 2016

Related information

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