3.15 – Back Safety


Incorrect lifting techniques can cause serious long-term injuries. The following work practice must be used when mechanical lifting devices are not practicable and manual lifting techniques must be utilized.


WorkSafe Requirements (the Ergonomics (MSI) Requirements) “musculoskeletal injury” or “MSI” means an injury or disorder of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, nerves, blood vessels or related soft tissue including a sprain, strain and inflammation, that may be caused or aggravated by work.

Risk identification

Griffin Properties must identify factors in the workplace that may expose workers to a risk of musculoskeletal injury (MSI).

Risk assessment

When factors that may expose workers to a risk of MSI have been identified, Griffin Properties must ensure that the risk to workers is assessed in a written Hazard Assessment before manual lifting or handling any loads.

Risk factors

The following factors must be considered, where applicable, in the identification and assessment of the risk of MSI:

  1. the physical demands of work activities, including
    • force required,
    • repetition,
    • duration,
    • work postures, and
    • local contact stresses;
  2. aspects of the layout and condition of the workplace or workstation, including
    • working reaches,
    • working heights,
    • seating, and
    • floor surfaces;
  3. the characteristics of objects handled, including
    • size and shape,
    • load condition and weight distribution, and
    • container, tool and equipment handles;
  4. the environmental conditions, including cold temperature;
  5. the following characteristics of the organization of work:
    • work-recovery cycles;
    • task variability;
    • work rate.

Risk control

  1. Griffin Properties must eliminate or, if that is not practicable, minimize the risk of MSI to workers.
  2. Personal protective equipment may only be used as a substitute for engineering or administrative controls if it is used in circumstances in which those controls are not practicable.
  3. Griffin Properties must, without delay, implement interim control measures when the introduction of permanent control measures will be delayed.

Education and training

  1. Griffin Properties must ensure that a worker who may be exposed to a risk of MSI is educated in risk identification related to the work, including the recognition of early signs and symptoms of MSIs and their potential health effects.
  2. Ensure that a worker to be assigned to work which requires specific measures to control the risk of MSI is trained in the use of those measures, including, where applicable, work procedures, mechanical aids and personal protective equipment.


  1. Griffin Properties will monitor the effectiveness of the measures taken to comply with the Ergonomics (MSI) Requirements and ensure they are reviewed at least annually.
  2. When the monitoring required by subsection (1) identifies deficiencies, they must be corrected without undue delay.


  1. Griffin Properties will consult with the joint committee or the worker health and safety representative, as applicable, with respect to the following when they are required by the Ergonomics (MSI) Requirements:
    • a) risk identification, assessment and control;
    • b) the content and provision of worker education and training;
    • c) the evaluation of the compliance measures taken.
  2. When performing a risk assessment, consult with
    • a) workers with signs or symptoms of MSI, and
    • b) a representative sample of the workers who are required to carry out the work being assessed.


  • Size up the load if it is awkward or heavier than what you are capable of lifting – if you think you need help, ask for it.
  • Get good footing.
  • Bend your knees: get a good grip on the object to be lifted.
  • Look up. Keep your back straight; lift with your legs, keeping the object being lifted as close to your body as possible.
  • To put the object down again – DO NOT BEND AT THE WAIST. Keep the back straight and bend the knees, keeping the object close to the body until it is placed in a secure place.
  • Avoid long duration of one man lifting functions – take breaks periodically if repetitive.
  • Use a mechanical lifting device for material handling whenever practicable.