Ergonomic Hazards

Making Work Fit the Worker

Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI), or MusculoSkeletal Disorders (MSDs), affect 2.3 million Canadians every year and account for 40% of all lost time injuries in Ontario. You may associate RSIs with workers on an assembly line, or someone who spends their days typing. But an education worker in kindergarten who has leaned over to zip up one too many jackets can tell you that ETFO members are not immune from these injuries. Whether you do most of your work in front of a screen or in front of a class, repeated motions, uncomfortable positions, or excessive strain on any part of your body can result in serious injury. Ensure that you are taking the necessary steps to protect yourself against RSIs: 
  1. Design the job to avoid the hazard: Plan your day so that you change position often and build in opportunities to move your body. This doesn’t have to be done during non-instructional time – children’s bodies need the chance to move too!
  2. Ensure that you have a well-designed workspace: Learn about basic office ergonomics – focus on 90 degrees at the knees, the hips, and the elbows. In the classroom, make sure you have an appropriately sized chair and that you can safely do the physical elements of your job. If you don’t have the tools you need, speak to your supervisor.
  3. Pay attention to your body for signs of concern: RSIs typically affect the neck, upper and lower back, chest, shoulders, arms and hands. You may experience pain, numbness, or tingling. Go to your healthcare provider and talk to them about accommodations you may need from your employer to avoid further injury.
chair with laptop and mouse on table


Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Awareness Day
is the last day of February each year
(February 29th or February 28th in non-leap years)
since this is the only “non-repetitive” day of the year.