A repetitive strain injury effects millions of Americans
A repetitive strain injury (RSI) is experienced by thousands of Americans every year. OSHA notes that one in every three workers compensation dollars pays for repetitive strain injury
claims . The cost to workers and employers is devastating. For employers, the cost is billions of dollars in both claims and lost time. The cost for workers is injury and pain.
Work conditions or daily tasks can attribute to these silent injuries. Normally, when someone gets hurt, it is caused from a single incident. In the case of a repetitive strain injury, it isn't sudden, instead accumulating over time. It is the repeated movements over time that attribute to these types of injuries. A repetitive strain injury affects various muscles, tendons, soft tissue and even nerves. The symptoms most commonly experienced are pain and swelling to the limbs, shoulders, back, as well as the hand and wrist.
The CCOHS says "jobs that require employees to perform the same type of task over and over, including working on assembly lines or using a computer all day, can result in Repetitive Strain Injuries". If you do a repetitive task day in and day out, you might be a candidate for this type of injury. They can be prevented by eliminating repetitive tasks but in some cases this isn't possible. So, for those who work a job task that has repetitive tasks, take heed to these 4 tips to reduce or prevent a repetitive strain injury. Job rotation
- Many times, assembly jobs can include rotations from one task to another. This helps the employee use different muscles and work in different positions throughout the day. It will also help the employee stay alert and interested and focused on their task. Just this change alone can help reduce the potential for repetitive strain injuries.Design workstation with the employee in mind
- Changes as simple as raising a counter height or adding ergonomic mats will make a huge difference. Review the employees task and workstation to determine what changes can be made to their workstation, helping reduce or eliminate improper body positioning or repetitive movement. Plan stretching and rest breaks
- Employees should be sure to stretch take time to rest their bodies. Muscles can be tense or excessive pressure placed on joints during the work tasks. Breaks should be used to relax those muscles and tendons. Protective supports for the wrist or back can help
- Some classify braces and supports
as safety equipment. While not designed to be a "quick fix" solution for a repetitive strain injury, supports can help reduce some injuries when incorporated with employee training and awareness of proper body positioning. For example, wrist braces and supports
can help limit over flexion or over extension of the hands and wrists so be sure to select the right support for the task.
Talking with your doctor is also a good step towards prevention. Also, the use of ergonomic designed tools, engineering out the problem and just as important, our overall good general can help reduce the potential for a repetitive strain injury.