Pictograms to Prevent MSDs

Published: January 2012

Pictograms can play an important role in communicating safety messages at workplaces. Pictograms to Prevent MSDs, developed by the Institute for Work & Health in conjunction with Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS), contains three sets of pictograms to depict musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) hazards and proper practices in three service sectors:

  • retail;
  • restaurants; and
  • greenhouses.

Each set contains pictograms depicting common tasks in the sectors. Pictograms depicting hazardous ways to perform the tasks are paired with those depicting safer ways to perform the tasks (controls). Each set also comes with a PowerPoint presentation to be used for training workers about MSD hazards and the meaning of the pictograms.

Who should use the pictograms

Workplace managers, supervisors, occupational health and safety professionals/consultants and joint health and safety committee members in retail establishments, restaurants and greenhouses may want to incorporate these pictograms into their MSD prevention and ergonomics programs. 

Using the PowerPoint presentations, they can train workers on the MSD hazards in their workplaces and the safe work practices that can help prevent injury. They can then print out and post the pictograms to remind workers daily about the MSD hazards, controls and safe work practices related to their work.

A video produced by WSPS called "Pictograms: Alternative methods for reaching vulnerable workers" details the pictogram and training development process, as well as a subsequent pilot study evaluation.