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October 7, 2019 4:07 PM

Conestoga researcher presents guideline for prevention of workplace injuries

On October 1, Dr. Amin Yazdani, director of the Canadian Institute of Safety, Wellness & Performance at Conestoga, announced the release of the full version of the Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) Prevention Guideline for Ontario at a conference hosted by the Centre of Research Expertise for the Prevention of MSD (CRE-MSD).

Conestoga College - Amin Yazdani - MSD 2019.jpg
Dr. Amin Yazdani announced the release of the full version of the Musculoskeletal Disorders Prevention Guideline for Ontario at a conference on October 1. The guideline has already received national and international interest.

The guideline provides Ontario’s employers and workers with information and advice for preventing musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace and was developed in partnership between Yazdani and Dr. Richard Wells of the University of Waterloo through the CRE-MSD. During the conference, Yazdani and Wells highlighted new content added to the guideline, as well as the additional resources and tools it now features.

MSD are injuries that affect muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves caused by exposure to known ergonomic hazards including forceful exertions, repetitive motion, awkward posture and vibration. According to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, MSD in the form of sprains and strains account for 47 per cent of all lost-time claims in Ontario which results in significant costs to the economy including productivity loss and health care costs.

Since its initial release last year, Yazdani has shared the guideline and other research findings at a number of national and international conferences and meetings with positive results. His most recent presentation was to the European Union’s Safety and Health at Work agency in Brussels.

“To be honest, no, I didn’t think there would be this level of interest on the international stage,” said Yazdani. “During our meeting in Brussels though, the MSD Prevention Guideline was said to be one of the best guidelines available. Our outreach to thousands of micro and small businesses, along with testing of a number of resources we created for these businesses in Ontario, was noted to be one of the most unique large-scale small business involvement projects in the area of work and health research.”

Yazdani added that small businesses are particularly challenged because of limited knowledge about workplace injury prevention.

“We evaluated material for the guideline over a three-year period and tested it with 10,000 small businesses across Ontario,” explained Yazdani. “That’s something that’s never been done before and it allowed us to draw the best evidence from the workplace and develop an evidence-informed guideline for this specific population based on their needs and capacity.”

The last guideline on MSD, a PDF document, was published in 2007, but Yazdani said he and Wells wanted something different, applied, innovative and far more impactful. What they created is a unique, user-friendly platform written in a language that can be adopted anywhere, accompanied by graphics that are understandable without supporting text, and no-cost solutions to preventing injuries in the workplace.

“The guideline website is a one-stop source of information where various stakeholders can easily find information needed to implement a scalable MSD prevention guideline that can help organizations continually improve their MSD prevention programs and practices.”

The guideline is the first to be presented in the format developed by Yazdani and Wells, and although it was created specifically for use in Ontario, it is available online at msdprevention.com and accessible to a worldwide audience.

Under the direction of Yazdani, the Canadian Institute for Safety, Wellness & Performance, located within the School of Business, works to improve the safety, wellness and performance of the Canadian labour force by generating knowledge, transferring research to practice, and strengthening workforce development -- all in collaboration with stakeholders.

Projects currently in development by Yazdani and his research team, and in collaboration with organizations across the country, focus on standards specifically for paramedics and first responders. A Canadian standard for work disability prevention, a multi-stakeholder initiative, is also under development.

Visit the Canadian Institute of Safety, Wellness & Performance for more information.

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