Manufacturing Safety for Manitoba

MSI Prevention – Ergonomics Awareness Month

MSI Prevention – Ergonomics Awareness Month

Posted on October 25, 2022

By Valerius Hiebert, CRST, Safety Trainer


Did you know October is National Ergonomics Awareness Month? To mark the occasion, take a minute to read up on the legal duties and best practices for MSI Prevention. Made Safe is here to help.

Musculoskeletal injuries (MSI) are one of the leading lost time injuries in manufacturing. About two-thirds of workplace injuries are related to poor workplace design or unsafe body postures. We are not machines. Our human body is made up of complex and intricate systems that include but not limited to connective or related soft tissues such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, discs, and joints. MSI are when these systems are damaged or aggravated due to the demands that exceed our bodies stress tolerance.


Ergonomics is the discipline that seeks to fit jobs or workstations to the workers. The goal is to increase efficiency and productivity and prevent or reduce the risks of MSIs. There are a number of popular phrases used to describe this field, including, “work smarter not harder,” “user-friendly,” and “the rules of work.” There are multiple factors in the workplace that can cause or contribute to these injuries:

  • Repetitive movements – Working on an assembly line, packing product that requires the same repetitive motions, continuously triggering a paint gun or welder etc.
  • Forceful exertion – Lifting parts, pushing and pulling a cart, shoving parts into alignment, etc.
  • Vibration – Grinding, sanding, or whole-body vibration.
  • Mechanical compression – Resting elbows or forearms on the tabletop, using hand tools that are too short or small, etc.
  • Sustained or awkward posture – Leaning forward, sitting for long periods, working above shoulder height, etc.
  • Limitation of motion or action – working in a tight workspace, reaching around a barrier, standing for long periods on hard surfaces, sitting for long periods, etc.

Where to start?

  1. The first step is to recognize jobs where the MSI hazards and related concerns are in the workplace. This can be done through:
  • Looking at worker concerns, signs or symptoms (discomfort surveys), and hazard reports
  • Including MSI hazards while performing workplace inspection
  • Communication and training of ergonomics

If you’re interested in identifying MSI-related hazards in your workplace, Made Safe provides ergonomics awareness and manual material handling training sessions that will help you to recognize, assess, and control MSI hazards. For more information about our courses, visit our training portal or contact us directly at


  1. The second step is to prioritize MSI hazards by performing a risk assessment. The Manitoba Workplace Health & Safety Regulation Part 8 states,“When an employer is aware, or ought reasonably to have been aware, or has been advised, that a work activity creates a risk of MSI, the employer (a) ensure that the risk is assessed by a competent person.”There are a variety of risk assessment tools available online. It is important to determine the appropriate assessment tool for the job.
  2. The third step is to address MSI risk factors by determining effective control measures to reduce the risk of an injury. The most effective control measures are looking at design or engineering controls, followed by administrative and personal protective equipment controls. During our MSI assessments, we document current controls and support you with recommendations to reduce the risk of an injury.


Made Safe is here to help. We support you with on-site MSI risk assessments using new technology to get a digital scope of the work being performed and identify MSI risk factors. A report will be developed outlining the critical, medium, and low risk factors.

For more information about Musculoskeletal Injuries and Ergonomics Assessments, contact us at


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