two workers talking beside machinery

Health and Safety Representative

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Recognize Hazards

Hazard recognition is the first step in the RACE process. If an MSD hazard is identified and consensus is achieved by management and workers that a practical control is available, it should be implemented to eliminate or control the hazard. More in-depth analysis through MSD risk assessment is required if the control does not eliminate the MSD hazard.

  • Specific training on MSD and associated hazards by a competent instructor is required for H&S Representatives and JHSC to identify
  • MSD hazards in the workplace and assist in the development of controls.
  • Participation of workers in MSD prevention activities is especially important.
Learn more about recognizing MSD hazards
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Understanding MSD

Musculoskeletal Disorders (or MSD) at work is an umbrella term for a number of different kinds of injuries and disorders of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, bone and nerves. Many body areas can be affected. The low back is the most commonly frequently affected, followed by the shoulders, neck, elbow, hands and wrists.
Common physical hazards that can lead to MSD include:

  • High forces
  • Awkward postures
  • High repetition

These hazards can be found on their own, or in combination with each other. Other hazards that can lead to MSD include vibration, local contact stress, and temperature (cold).

Learn more about MSD
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Rights and Responsibilities

Joint health and safety members and/or health and safety personnel should:

  • Get training on recognizing, assessing and controlling MSD hazards,
  • Ensure that MSD hazards are included on inspection checklists,
  • Actively look for MSD hazards,
  • Discuss MSD-related concerns at JHSC meetings and with the employer and workers,
  • Review training records to ensure that everyone in the workplace has received training on how to do their jobs safely and how to identify the MSD hazards in the workplace, and
  • Make recommendations to the employer on how to eliminate, control or reduce exposure to MSD hazards.
Learn more about MSD prevention roles

Relevant Guideline Information

The Quick Start Guide posters describe common MSD hazards foudn in the workplace. There are two different versions; General and Office. The General Guideline is intended for any type of workplace, and the Office Guideline is intended for computer-based work.

Relevant Resources

Additional Resources for Health and Safety Representatives

View a curated collection of resources in the resource library.

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Find all the available resources on the MSD prevention website, including posters, videos, and links to relevant websites.

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