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What is a "musculoskeletal injury" or "MSI" ?

WorkSafeBC defines musculoskeletal injury (MSI) as 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. These injuries are sometimes called repetitive strain or repetitive motion injuries, cumulative trauma disorder, or occupational overuse syndrome, among others.

Why are MSIs important to the BCNU?

Musculoskeletal injury is the number one cause of injury among healthcare workers, according to WorkSafeBC statistics. From 2005-2009, almost 50% of injury claims in healthcare were caused by overexertion. Patient handling activities cause most of the MSI among caregivers. These injuries result in hundreds of thousands of days lost from work and WorkSafeBC claim costs in the tens of millions of dollars. MSIs can impact members' quality of life, for a lifetime.

What is required for prevention?

Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention programs should be established in all worksites where workers may be exposed to a risk of MSI. Programs must be in place to eliminate or minimize those risks. A good MSIP program contains tools and direction for recognizing early signs and symptoms of MSIs, outlines reporting procedures, and establishes participatory processes to implement control measures and evaluate their effectiveness.

Early signs and symptoms of MSIs should be reported promptly so that changes might be made in the workplace. The employer is required to provide education on recognizing the early warning signs of MSI and the prevention of injury.

All of this must be done in consultation with the Joint Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Committee.

How is the BCNU involved?

The BCNU OH&S department works with the Joint OH&S Committee members, stewards and employers to ensure that MSIP programs are in place.

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