Musculoskeletal Injuries (MSI)

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Kimberly's Story: BCNU member Kimberly Yu suffered MSIs early in her career, changing her career trajectory. Learn how recognizing early signs and symptoms of MSI can prevent injuries and how the Enhanced Disability Management Program (EDMP) supported Kimberly in her return to work.

Musculoskeletal injury (MSI) is an injury or disorder of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, nerves, blood vessels or related soft tissue. It also includes sprains, strains and inflammation that may be caused or aggravated by work. Preventing MSI is one of the best health and safety investments workers can make. Workplace MSI is the most common type of time-loss injury and the largest single time-loss cost in Canada’s workers’ compensation system.

Know the Risks

The four main hazards for work-related MSI disorder include:

  • Awkward body posture
  • Repetitive movement, especially the rate of repetition
  • The force used in performing tasks
  • Static loading of muscles

The risk of injury resulting from each of these factors can increase over time or when multiple hazards are present, or when regular work includes forceful, repetitive, and awkward movements.

Recognize, Report and Recover

What hurts today can become an injury tomorrow. When an MSI develops, it is often painful and disabling, and can interfere with all kinds of tasks at work and at home.

Work-related MSI disorders do not happen overnight. That’s why it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of MSI so you can report it, treat it and recover.

Early signs and symptoms of MSI include:

  • Tightness in muscles
  • Stiffness in body,
  • Tingling and burning sensation in muscles
  • Local swelling or change in skin color

These early signs and symptoms may disappear after rest, and at its early stage, an injury may not interfere with your daily activities.

MSI is reversible, and workers can recover from an injury if it is treated promptly. This begins by reporting the signs and symptoms. A report makes an employer aware of an injury or unsafe condition and requires it to investigate and implement corrective actions to prevent recurrence and future injury.

Learn more about reporting here.

Late-stage MSI may not be reversible, only some effects can be eased if dealt with properly by regular treatment and work modifications.

Prevention is Key

A proper MSI prevention includes information and educational tools to help workers recognize early signs and symptoms and report their injuries. It should also establish processes to implement and evaluate control measures.

View our Repetitive Stain Injury Awareness Day resources here.

For further information about MSI, including strains, sprains, patient handling, equipment, education and training, please contact

UPDATED: February 27, 2024

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