Management provides the leadership, vision, and resources (human and financial) needed to implement an effective MSD prevention program within the organization’s overall Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) program. Strong leadership in health, safety, and MSD prevention must be demonstrated by business owners, executives, managers, and supervisors.

Action 1.1: Be aware of and commit to comply with legal requirements 

There are several legal requirements that organizations are required to comply with (i.e., Occupational Health and Safety Act, Ontario). The legal, and any other requirements, need to be incorporated into an OHS, and MSD prevention program.

How to do it?
  • The organization should take every action to comply with legal requirements. The organization should have a process in place to notify management of any deficiencies.
  • The organization needs to ensure the compliance with legal requirements is embedded into all steps as outlined in this guideline and identify any deficiencies.
  • Management needs to be aware of the relevant legal requirements and commit to comply with these requirements in the policy (Action 1.2).

Action 1.2: Write MSD prevention policy 

The first action by management is to communicate organization’s strategy and commitment towards OHS in general and prevention of MSD in particular. The policy statement demonstrates the organization’s commitment to position the importance of MSD prevention as an important aspect of the organization’s strategy to safeguard the health, safety and wellbeing of workers, improve productivity, performance, and product and service quality.

How to do it? 
  • Management should develop an OHS Policy that includes a commitment to prevent MSD and outlines a clear vision by the employer to improve OHS and prevent workplace injuries. Sample MSD Prevention Policy Statement.
  • Management should communicate the policy to all stakeholders including workers, contractors, subcontractors, visitors, and customers through posted material, orientation training, and any other job training means.
  • Management should have a process in place to consider the policy in contractor and vendor selection, purchasing, workplace design and redesign.

Action 1.3: Assign roles and responsibilities 

It is essential that relevant internal stakeholders play a role in OHS. Therefore, management needs to assign roles and responsibilities of internal stakeholders in OHS and MSD prevention. Management defines and communicates who is responsible for implementing and maintaining the OHS program that includes prevention of MSD. Management holds people accountable for their performance in preventing MSD.

How to do it?
  • Management should define overall roles and responsibilities of main stakeholders. This needs to be written and communicated to all employees.
  • Management may assign and authorize the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) or a similar Health and Safety committee (HSC) to implement the MSD prevention program.
  • Management in consultation with JHSC or similar HSC identifies person or persons with authority to champion the implementation of the program. In smaller organizations this person must be the top management.
  • In larger businesses with more than one JHSC, a Master (steering) JHSC may oversee the MSD prevention activities.

Action 1.4: Allocate required resources 

The successful implementation of any prevention program requires adequate human and financial resources to help the organization achieve its MSD prevention goals and objectives. Management allocates the necessary human and financial resources to operate and maintain the OHS program, including MSD prevention. It also allocates resources to fix any deficiencies in the program.

How to do it?
  • Management in consultation with the JHSC or similar HSC should estimate the resources needed to establish and implement the program.
  • Management should provide necessary resources (which includes people, money and training) to operate and maintain the OHS program, including MSD prevention.
  • Management should allocate sufficient resources (which includes people, money and training) to achieve the organization’s targets and objectives identified in Step 5 and correct any deficiencies found.
  • Management in collaboration with JHSC or similar HSC integrate OHS into planning and budgeting processes and align budgets with program needs.
  • Supervisors and managers should allow time in workers’ schedules for full participation in the program.
  • Management in collaboration with JHSC or similar HSC should provide direct resources (money and staff time) to operate and maintain the program, meet OHS commitments, and pursue program goals.
  • The organization should make appropriate arrangements to ensure that resources such as first-aid and medical treatment are available if a worker is injured at work or suffers a work-related illness.
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