Avoiding repetitive stress injuries in the workplace

On Behalf of | Oct 15, 2015 | Workers' Compensation

Repetitive stress injuries may be often cited in workers’ compensation claims in New York. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, RSIs are a category of job-induced injury and illness that result from wear and tear on the human body. They are most often caused when the physical requirements of a job are not matched to the physical ability of workers. Repetitive motion, awkward posture and heavy lifting are all risk factors that increase workers’ chances of developing a RSI.

To prevent RSIs from occurring, employers must be aware of the physical limitations of those they employ. Ergonomics, in which the job is modified to fit the needs of the body, is one of the key ways workers can protect themselves and employers can respond to the needs of their workers. For example, knives with curved handles are essential for preventing RSIs in poultry workers. Frequent short breaks for people in all industries can help them rest their muscles and avoid constant repetitive movements. Additionally, providing workers with opportunities to perform varied tasks can break routines and provide a change of movement.

RetailSafety.ca states that the best ways to avoid RSIs include slowing the pace of work, using good posture at all times, and gripping objects with the whole hand. Those who sit at computers all day can reduce their chances of injury by keeping their work close to the body, just below the height of the elbow. Additionally, keeping the wrists straight and properly aligned with the forearms can keep conditions like carpel tunnel, which affect the wrist and hands, at bay.

It is important for all employers to be aware of the potential for these types of injuries. No industry is immune from the effects of RSIs on workers, and thus all employers should take every reasonable step to prevent them from occurring.