General MSD Hazard Identification Tool

Job Title or Task:


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MSD Hazards - Gripping

Check if required

Pinch Gripping

  • unsupported object(s)
  • difficult/tiring holding or manipulating
  • difficult/tiring squeezing to open/close

Power Gripping

  • unsupported heavy object(s)
  • difficult/tiring holding and manipulating
  • difficult/tiring squeezing to open/close

MSD Hazards - Force

Check if required
Consider both one and two-handed lifting/lowering.
  • object is heavy/difficult to lift/lower
  • object is lifted/lowered repeatedly
  • object is above the shoulders
  • object is below the knees
  • Object is far away from the bellybutton
  • loads are unstable, unbalanced, uncooperative, or unpredictable
  • lifting/lowering postures are awkward (bend, twist, kneel, reach, sit)


Consider one and two-handed pushing/pulling. Also, consider whole body & arms/upper body only pushing/pulling.

  • object is hard/difficult to push/pull
  • object is pushed/pulled repeatedly
  • object is pushed with hands above the shoulders
  • object is pushed with hands below the waist
  • pushing/pulling postures are awkward (bend, twist, kneel, reach, sit)

MSD Hazards – Awkward/Fixed Posture 

Do workers frequently assume these postures and/or hold them for a long time?

Check if required

Awkward Posture - Neck

  • neck visibly bent forward (chin close to chest)
  • neck visibly bent to one side(ear close to shoulder)
  • neck twisted to either side/chin close to the shoulder
  • neck noticeably bent back
  • neck bent forward and chin out (head forward)
Awkward Shoulder Postures
  • hand(s) at or above the head
  • elbow(s) at/or above the shoulder
  • elbows/hands behind the body
Awkward Back/Lower Body Postures
  • sitting or standing with the back noticeably bent forward, sideways,

or twisted

  • back noticeably bent backward with no support for the back
  • squatting/kneeling while working

Awkward Wrist Postures

  • wrist noticeably bent down or up
  • wrist noticeably bent to the side(toward thumb/little finger)
  • hand turned so palm faces fully up or down
Fixed Posture
  • sitting for long periods without standing (office work, driving, etc.)
  • standing still on a hard surface for a long period of time

MSD Hazards – Repetition 

Do workers repetitively move the same body part – with little opportunity for recovery?

Check if required
  • performing the same neck motions repeatedly
  • performing the same shoulder motions repeatedly
  • performing the same elbow motions repeatedly
  • performing the same wrist motions repeatedly
  • performing the same hand/finger motions repeatedly
  • performing intensive keyboarding
  • performing intensive mousing

MSD Hazards - Other

Check if required
Repeated Impacts
  • using the hand or knee as a hammer
Contact Stress
  • tool handles dig into hand/palm
  • workstation/equipment edges/products dig into body(hands, forearms, trunk, thighs)
Hand-Arm Vibration
  • using vibrating tools (impact wrenches, carpet strippers, chainsaws, jackhammers, scalers, riveting hammers, grinders, sanders, jig saws, jack-leg drills)
  • operating mobile equipment/vehicles on rough, uneven surfaces
  • work environment is cold, hand/arms are exposed to cold air

Modified from Part3A: MSD Prevention Toolbox – Getting Started Developed by Occupation Health and Safety Council of Ontario (OHSCO)

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General MSD Hazard Identification Tool (3 page PDF)