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The successful development of an ergonomics standard: The BC experience. Peter Goyert CCPE . A brief history. 1992 WCB initiated an open and comprehensive review of OH&S regulations. Formed ergonomics sub-committee to develop regulatory proposals for ergonomics

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The successful development of an ergonomics standard the bc experience l.jpg

The successful development of an ergonomics standard: The BC experience

Peter Goyert CCPE


A brief history l.jpg
A brief history

  • 1992 WCB initiated an open and comprehensive review of OH&S regulations.

  • Formed ergonomics sub-committee to develop regulatory proposals for ergonomics

  • Deliberated for 16 months on its area of mandate

  • Forwarded proposals (including Code of Practice) for consideration December 1993


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A brief history

  • 1994 Public Hearings

  • 1995 Code of Practice was ‘de-linked’ from regulation

  • 1996 stakeholder groups agreed on wording

  • 1998 regulation went into force

  • 1999 regulation was fully enforceable after one year phase in period


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Musculoskeletal injury (MSI) claims statistics

On average, each year

  • 1/3 of all claims

  • 26,200 claims

  • 1,107,000 days lost

  • $136,367,000 in claims costs


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In British Columbia

Employer representatives

Labour representatives

WCB health and safety professionals

Who was involved in the regulation development?


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Issues raised at public hearings

  • From those in favour of the regulation.

    • Large numbers of MSI claims

    • There are no regulations to protect workers

    • MSIs cause extensive human suffering


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Issues raised at public hearings

  • From those against the regulation.

    • No proof that regulation will reduce injuries

    • Workplace factors of little significance

    • Will negatively affect economy

    • Epidemic of claims will result

    • Regulation too onerous and “never ending”


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Business in Vancouver June 21-27

“Just when you thought WCB costs were high, here come ergonomic regulations”

The Vancouver Sun Sept 15

“Keyboard not necessarily the culprit in computer-related pain”

The Vancouver Province Sept 18

“A formula for confusion”

Nelson News, November 10

“Businesses condemn ergonomics”

The Vancouver Sun Sept 27

“Ergonomic talks spur “big lies”, “tantrums”

Daily News Sept 22

“Workers, employers at odds over WCB”

Daily News Sept 21

“WCB workplace plans draw praise, criticism”

The Vancouver Sun, Dec 20

“Draining the WCB’s poisonous wounds”


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Otto Von Bismarck

“Laws are like sausages. It's better not to see them being made.”


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Ergonomics (MSI) Requirement

  • Still controversial in some areas

  • Ergonomic regulation in BC has raised the level of awareness of MSI

  • Employers cognizant that they are required to address the issue

  • WorkSafeBC can require compliance


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Ergonomics (MSI) Requirement

  • Regulation is not perfect

  • Amalgam of scientific, medical and political

  • Performance based (non-prescriptive, but with risk factors listed)

  • Can be a challenge to enforce (no published limits)


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Practical application

  • Regulation is an educational tool

    • WorkSafeBC issued Regulatory Guidelines in 2006 to enable better understanding of the regulation


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4.53 Consultation

4.47 Risk Identification

4.48 Risk Assessment

4.50 Risk

Control

4.51 Education & Training

4.52 Evaluation

Policy & Procedure

Ergonomics (MSI) Requirement


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All provincially regulated workplaces

Emphasis on sprains, strains and inflammations

Scope of regulation


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Risk factors

  • 18 factors in 5 groups

    • physical demands

    • layout and condition of the workstation

    • characteristics of objects handled

    • environmental conditions

    • organization of work


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Risk Control

  • Monitor effectiveness

  • Correct deficiencies

  • Evaluate


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Educate workers at risk of MSI

Train workers in measures to control risk

Education and training


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Application of the regulation

  • Multi-level approach

    • Corporately

      • High risk industry groups

      • Create awareness on MSI issues through education

    • Regionally

      • Response work

      • High risk sector employers


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Successes

  • Increased awareness about MSI issues

    • MSI in high risk industries such as construction, health care and manufacturing still make up about 1/3 of all injuries


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Successes

  • Considerable ‘field’ expertise developed

    • 1.5 day basic training for inspectors

  • Three staff ergonomists provide support to employers and inspection officers

  • Focus on Safety program (new in 2006)



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Continued challenges

  • Increased duration of some claims

  • Increased costs of MSI claims

  • Lack of ergonomic expertise

  • Difficult to measure ‘cause and effect’

    • trailing indicators may not be an effective measure


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Defining compliance

Performance based regulation with no published limits

Continued challenges


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Other ergonomic activity at WorkSafeBC

  • Funded projects through external health and safety agencies

    • Ceiling lifts and electric beds in health care,

  • Web based tools

    • Lifting calculator, push/pull calculator

  • Publications


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Frequently asked questions

  • Do you see it having any effect, and if so, do you see any decrease in the number of MSIs?


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Frequently asked questions

  • What services does WorkSafeBC offer to employers?


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Frequently asked questions

  • What is the role of the inspectors?

  • Do your inspectors have training?


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In conclusion

  • Risks of MSI to workers is significant

  • Ergonomics regulation attempts to control risk

  • Sets a standard to reduce risk


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Thank you

  • For further information on the regulation check our website or the CD handout

    www.worksafebc.com