Ontario grappling with ergonomics

Province teams labour, business together to reduce musculoskeletal injuries — B.C.’s rules could provide a blueprint, says labour
By Todd Humber
|CHRR, Report on Healthy Workplaces|Last Updated: 04/13/2005

With its concentration of manufacturing jobs, Ontario has long been regarded as the engine that drives Canada’s industrial sector. But that concentration of labour also gives the province another claim to fame — a high rate of musculoskeletal injuries largely caused by overexertion and ergonomic problems.

In 2003 alone there were more than 40,000 musculoskeletal injuries to workers in Ontario, according to the province’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. That accounts for more than 40 per cent of all lost-time injuries in the workplace, noted Ontario MPP Kevin Flynn, parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Labour and chair of a new ergonomics advisory group.

The group, set up by the province in March, consists of representatives from business and labour. Its mandate is to come up with ways to tackle the problem and report back to the government with recommendations.