Blog Post #1413 – The Link Between Psychosocial Risk Factors and Musculoskeletal Injury – Part One

Original Report by Theo Heineman

Report from the OH&S Canada magazine – (Sept 2021)

Statistics provided by the Mental Health Commission of Canada show that one in five Canadians experience a mental health problem or illness each year, with stress and trauma cited as the primary causes. This is equivalent to 500,000 employees unable to work every week.

It was further reported that psychological health problems cost the Canadian economy approximately $51,000,000,000 per year – $20,000,000,000 of which results from work-related causes. In addition, 47% of working Canadians consider their work to be most stressful part of daily life. Keep in mind, these findings are pre-pandemic.

The stress response is a primary survival mechanism intended for short-term duration. For example, when the deer outruns the wolf, 15 minutes later it goes back to grazing.

Yet, when humans, regularly, turn on the stress response (autocratic leadership, production demands, information overload, pandemics, teenagers, divorce, traffic, news) and cannot turn it off, to the body, it is just like constantly being chased by “the wolf.”

The alarming fact is most workers are living in an environment of stress 70 per cent of the time.

Stress at work is predictive of workplace incidents in general, since a person living in stress is living in survival mode.

When in stress, blood is sent from the forebrain to the hindbrain, causing it to disconnect from the prefrontal cortex and to fire incoherently.

In other words, the brain is not working optimally. As a result, workers are more likely to become aggressive or reactive and make errors in judgement, such as taking shortcuts.

There are also less likely to perceive hazards and as a result experience more in juries and incidents.

Chronic stress is a lot like a motor that is revving too high for too long, and after a period, can have a cascading effect on the body.

Theo Heineman is a regular columnist for the OH&S Canada magazine.

My opinion

Tomorrow, we will discuss additional stress-induced physiological factors and how they can be linked to musculoskeletal  injuries (MSIs) and other disorders.

The 2nd half of this report will be issued tomorrow. I hope you enjoy.

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

Remember – In Canada, “All accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

CHSEP – Advanced Level

CEO and Training Director


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