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.
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.
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.
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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British Columbia Nurses' Union, 4060 Regent Street, Burnaby, BC V5C 6P5
Phone: 604-433-2268 or 1-800-663-9991
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