February - MSI & RSI Prevention

February is Musculoskeletal Injury (MSI) / Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Awareness month at CCSA.  MSIs are the most common type of injury in continuing care and can be caused by resident handling and manual materials handling activities.

Musculoskeletal injuries or repetitive strain injuries are injuries or disorders of 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 tasks.

Scroll down this page to view short CCSA MIP technique videos. 

CCSA will be uploading more MIP technique videos to the CCSA YouTube channel throughout February.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to see them all!

*Click on any of the images below to download a pdf version.

Signs and Symptoms

There are often signs and symptoms that are present before an injury occurs and long before any work is missed.  It is very important that everyone (managers, supervisors, workers, etc.) is aware of the signs and is keeping a “look out” for:

  • Reports/complaints of: numbness, tingling, joint stiffness, burning
  • Stretching or rubbing muscles while working
  • Swelling or redness
  • Quality problems, errors
  • High turnover or absenteeism
  • Damage to equipment/materials/property
  • Pain or soreness at the end of the shift


A hazard, as defined in the Alberta Occupational Health & Safety Act, is “a situation, condition or thing that may be dangerous to the health and safety of workers.”  A hazard has the potential to cause an injury, illness or loss. Some people think of a hazard as “an incident waiting to happen”. Potential hazards are those that are foreseeable and reasonably likely to occur.

Hazards in continuing care that may result in MSI include: 




Circumstances that exist in the workplace

State of the workplace environment

An object in the workplace

Examples include:

  • Lack of appropriate resident handling equipment
  • Heavy furniture that cannot be moved easily
  • Working short staffed
  • Lack of appropriate manual materials handling equipment

Examples include:

  • Clutter
  • Heavy residents
  • Poor lighting
  • Small work area
  • Residents with high needs
  • Wet floors
  • Icy sidewalks
  • Poor lighting
  • Lack of space

Examples include:

  • Used syringe
  • Improper sling
  • A used syringe
  • A table saw



One of the keys to managing MSIs is to encourage a system of early reporting.  It is important to report early signs and symptoms because:

  • Continuing to work with an injured body part can affect other parts of the body and compound the situation.
  • If left untreated, symptoms can become chronic and can lead to a disability.
  • Early treatment of an injury can prevent lost time from the work place.
  • It may help keep a co-worker injury free.

It is especially important to report signs and/or symptoms if the:

  • Pain is persistent, severe or worsening.
  • Pain radiates.
  • Symptoms keep you from sleeping at night.

If a worker reports to their employer that they believe they have symptoms of an MSI, the employer is required to review the activities of that worker and also any other workers doing similar tasks to identify if there are any work related causes.  If it is found that there are work-related causes the employer must take corrective measures to avoid further injuries.


Employers are responsible for identifying hazards, implementing control measures to eliminate or reduce the hazards, and train workers to use the control measures provided and workers are responsible for reporting hazards they identify and to use the control measures provided by the employer. 

When performing any resident or manual handling task always follow the S.A.F.E. Principles: Scan. Adjust. Follow-thru. Evaluate.


CCSA MIP resources 

Manual Materials Handling Assessment Form

Manual Materials Handling Body Mechanics Observation Tracking Tool 

Sample Manual Materials Handling Policy

Nursing Body Mechanics Observation Form

Lift, Transfer and Body Mechanics Observation Tracking Tool

Sample Resident Transfers and Lifts Policy

Legislation Summary for MSI/RSI

Word Search CCSA MIP Word Search - challenge your employees and co-workers to complete the MIP Word Search!

CCOHS International Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Awareness Day February 28, 2019 - Resources

Ergo Plus: Three Facilitators of Successful MSD Prevention Best Practices for Successful Musculoskeletal Disorder Prevention


CCSA: Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Technique: Vacuuming - Vacuuming resident rooms and common areas is a frequent activity in continuing care homes.  This short video demonstrates both the incorrect and correct ways to vacuum to prevent musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs).

**CCSA will be uploading more MIP technique videos throughout February. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to see them all!



Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention: Assisting a resident to walk: Sometimes our residents need assistance with short walks from place to place.  Learn how to safely provide this assistance watching this short video.


WorkSafe BC: Ceiling Lifts: Why Aren't They Being Used? Using ceiling lifts to transfer, reposition, and turn clients reduces injuries. Sometimes, though, even when lifts are available, they're not always used. This video challenges the seven most common reasons health care workers give for not using ceiling lifts.


Montana State Fund: Workplace Ergonomics: Ergonomic basics that apply to virtually any workplace.