Join workers and allies on February 28 in Toronto to mark the 18th annual international Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Awareness Day. Demand that employers and the Ontario government take action to prevent RSIs and properly compensate workers who suffer from them!
Registration and coffee at 9:30 a.m. Please register at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RSI is a generic term used to describe overuse injuries that affect muscles, tendons and nerves of the neck, upper and lower back, shoulders, arms and hands. These injuries are not sexy. They do not make the front page of the newspaper. Many RSIs develop over time, and suffering workers initially try to adjust to their pain in silence for fear of being stigmatized. Yet an RSI suffered by a worker not only affects the workplace; it influences the worker’s quality of life.
RSIs can take years to develop. They can be difficult to diagnose, and determining what caused them may be complex, making them easy for employers to ignore. Injuries often go unrecognized and unreported, and if employers feel little pressure to address the causes of RSIs – repetitive movements, force, vibration, awkward postures, and lifting – little will be changed in the workplace.
Employers are often reluctant to acknowledge that workplace standards and practices contribute to the risk of RSIs. Yet Ontario lacks an ergonomic regulation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). In the absence of regulations, the province has in the past opted to embark on campaigns or inspection blitzes in an effort to educate employers and workers on the dangers of poor workplace ergonomics (a leading contributor to RSIs).
The lack of regulations is bad enough, but the legal situation in Ontario is getting worse, not better. On December 8, 2016, the government amended the OHSA through Bill 70, enabling Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) to accredit a “health and safety management system” for use in Ontario workplaces and then recognize employers who use such a system. The changes will allow workplace safety to be judged by a non-governmental third party ticking off boxes on a form, moving health and safety away from workers and up to the boardroom. External “auditors” who have no power to enforce health and safety in our province will be accrediting employers. These changes do not bode well for ergonomic protection for Ontario workers.
The theme of this year’s RSI Awareness Day is, “How is work hurting for you?” Join us to discuss these issues and to plan a strategy to move forward.
Other Events in Ontario:
Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers RSI Day E-Dome event: connect in person or electronically via http://www.ohcow.on.ca/news/rsi-day-2017.html