What type of work can cause a Repetitive Strain Injury?
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is the more commonly known term for a set of disorders called Work Related Upper Limb Disorders (WRULDs).
RSI can be caused by continued repetitive or pressurised finger, hand or arm movements, pushing, lifting, pounding, pulling, hammering, squeezing, reaching or twisting movements on a daily/hourly basis.
There are a number of things that can increase your risk of developing RSI. These include:
- Repetitive tasks
- Carrying out an activity for a long period of time without adequate rest breaks
- Doing an activity that involves force, such as pushing and pulling heavy objects
- Poor posture or activities that require you to work in awkward or tiring positions
- Working in a cold environment
- Using vibrating or defective equipment
If your work involves one or more of the factors listed above and you are feeling pain, stiffness, tingling or numbness then, it is important to speak to your employer and your GP as continued use of the injured area can lead to permanent disability.
Who is at Risk?
In my experience, the following people most at risk are:
- Keyboard workers such as secretaries and administrative staff
- People who use computers for hours without adequate breaks
- Typists, clerical and data processing workers
- Machine operators
- Hair dressers
- Massage therapists
- People using tools and equipment for hours without adequate rest breaks
If you are experiencing RSI symptoms, they must be reported to your employer as soon as possible as you have a responsibility to report the injury once you realise what is happening, record the pain in an accident book and pursue accurate diagnoses and treatment. You must also ask for a risk assessment to be carried out at work. An RSI claim cannot be ignored as it will only get worse if not dealt with as soon as possible.
RSI Action – The RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) charity