A risk factor is something that may cause or contribute to an injury. Two or more risk factors can be present at one time, increasing the risk of injury.
The Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations require employers to consider a number of factors when identifying and assessing the risk of musculoskeletal injuries. The primary risk factors are the physical demands of a task, including:
- work posture; and
- local contact stress.
The mere presence of risk factors may not result in an injury. It depends on the extent of exposure - for example, how great the force is and how long the worker is exposed to the risk.
Developing a musculoskeletal injury can also depend on individual characteristics that vary from worker to worker (such as height, gender, and the body's ability to deal with the risk factors). In addition, activities outside the workplace can result in exposure to the risk factors.
Find out more about investigating a musculoskeletal injury or use our e-Tool for targeted recommendations.