Letter to the Editor


Dear Sirs:

We Need Ergonomics Regulations

Do you know friends or co-workers who have suffered disabling injuries to their back, wrist, shoulder, elbow, knees or feet? The injury may be invisible but it is very painful. Many working people are off work for lengthy periods of time, some never to return, as a result of back injuries and repetitive strain injuries (RSIs).

Something can and should be done. Ergonomics regulations would require that workplaces, work stations, tools, equipment and the organization of work be designed or changed to prevent these types of injuries.

Back injuries and RSIs can be found in any workplace and every sector. These injuries come in the form of office workers (such as those who work in this newspaper) with headaches from eye strain and numbness/tingling in hands and wrists from keyboard use, health care workers with back injuries from lifting patients, fish and poultry plant workers with sore wrists, auto workers with prolonged pain from working in awkward postures or back pain from manually handling heavy objects, hotel chambermaids with sore backs, and miners and construction workers with vibration white finger disease to name but a few.

Causes/risks of back injuries and RSIs are listed below:

  • Manual work with heavy objects
  • Applying excessive force
  • Working in awkward postures
  • Repetitive movement
  • Excessive work rates
  • Compulsory overtime
  • Inadequate rest
  • Speed up
  • Inadequate staffing
  • Poor job design
  • Vibration
  • Power tools

Injuries from these causes can be prevented by the use of ergonomics. British Columbia and Saskatchewan have already led the way by implementing ergonomics regulations which have helped to reduce the incidence of back injuries and RSIs.

Workers within our occupational health and safety jurisdiction should be protected by the same type of ergonomics regulations. Our government should bring in similar regulations.

Yours truly,

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