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What causes repetitive strain injuries in the workplace?

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2022 | Injuries |

If you’ve been employed at the same office for years, and your job doesn’t typically rank high on most lists as dangerous, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about on-the-job accidents. Perhaps you sit at a desk most of the day, working at a computer or stand on the line in a packaging or assembly warehouse. If so, you’re at risk for repetitive strain injuries (RSI).

Any time you maintain the same posture or make a certain type of movement repeatedly for an extended period of time (such as every day on the job), the risk of developing an RSI, increases. It’s important to be able to recognize symptoms of such injuries and to know how to navigate the workers’ compensation system if you’re diagnosed with an RSI that was caused by the work you do.

RSI is a broad term referring to numerous issues

If a doctor diagnoses you with an RSI, it doesn’t mean you have one specific injury in one specific part of your body. The term refers to various types of injuries that affect muscles, tendons or nerve endings in any part of the body. Repeated or overuse of a particular body part is usually the primary factor with this type of injury.

Is your job on the list as a high risk for RSI?

In addition to typing at a computer or working on an assembly line, the following list shows other types of industries that often include workers with repetitive strain injuries:

  • Ultrasonography
  • Dentistry
  • Surgical work
  • Tailoring
  • Instrumental music
  • Golf
  • Driving
  • Culinary work

If you work in any of these capacities and are showing signs of RSI, it’s a good idea to seek a medical examination to discuss your symptoms with a licensed physician.

What symptoms will your body produce if you have an RSI?

You might have an RSI is the same bodily region as another person; yet, you each may develop different symptoms. However, some of the symptoms that are most common in people who have RSI, include pain or discomfort in a localized region of the body, stiffness, numbness, tingling or inflammation and swelling. You might have one or two symptoms or all of those mentioned here. You could also have symptoms that are not included in this list.

Making adjustments in your work environment is sometimes helpful

The severity of an RSI can range from mild to debilitating. A careful assessment of your work environment is helpful because you might be able to make changes or adjustments that reduce your risk for RSI. For instance, if you sit in a chair all day, the type of chair you use may greatly affect your body.

Your employer is obligated to provide training and any equipment available that is known to help reduce the risk for RSI in the workplace. If you have symptoms of such injuries, you might need medication to alleviate pain, time off work to recover or occupational therapy to help you manage your symptoms. If your injuries are directly related to your workplace duties, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.