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Why are Pains and Strains / Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) a Problem?

  • Issued: december 2009
  • Content last reviewed: December 2009

Pains and strains / MSDs are a problem because:

  • They can affect every aspect of a worker’s life, and
  • They are costly for workplaces

According to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), pains and strains (musculoskeletal disorders or MSDs) are the number one reason workers file a claim and lose time from work because of injury. In Ontario in 2007, there were 35,498 MSD lost-time claims which accounted for:

  • 43 per cent of all claims involving time lost from work
  • 43 per cent of all costs related to time lost from work
  • 46 per cent of all days lost from work.

From 2003-2007, Ontario’s workers compensation system approved more than 187,000 musculoskeletal claims that resulted in time lost from work. This equates to about 37,500 MSD claims per year. These claims meant over 2.5 million days when workers were off and direct costs of more than $314 million.

It is estimated that from 2003-2007, Ontario's employers paid more than $1 billion in direct and indirect costs related to these injuries. Indirect costs include:

  • Overtime or replacement wages
  • Equipment modifications
  • Administration
  • Retraining, and
  • Lost productivity and reduced quality

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