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Suffered A Repetitive Strain Injury At Work – Can I Bring A Personal Injury Claim?

As a personal injury lawyer, I deal with many different types of injuries caused by a variety of accidents at work. In particular, I specialise in repetitive strain injury (RSI) cases also known as Work Related Upper Limb Disorders (or WRULD).

What is a Repetitive Strain Injury?

A repetitive strain injury is a term used to describe the pain felt in muscles, nerves and tendons caused by carrying out repetitive daily work tasks without adequate breaks. The type of work tasks that could cause a repetitive strain injury include continued repetitive hand or arm movements, pushing, lifting, pounding, pulling, hammering, squeezing, reaching or twisting movements for long periods of time without adequate breaks.

Symptoms

It usually affects parts of the upper body, particularly in the wrists and hands but can also affect elbows, forearms, the neck and shoulder. If you are carrying out the same repetitive tasks during the course of your working day, you may begin to develop the following symptoms such as pain or tenderness, stiffness, tingling or numbness, cramp

Who is at Risk?

In my experience, the following people most at risk are:

  • Keyboard workers such as secretaries, clerical and data processing workers
  • People who use computers for hours without adequate breaks
  • Machine operators using vibrating or defective equipment
  • Hair dressers
  • Massage therapists
  • Carpenters

Types of Repetitive Strain Injuries

If these symptoms continue without treatment, you could develop the following types of repetitive strain injury:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome – pressure on a nerve passing through the wrist
  • Tendonitis – inflammation of a tendon
  • Tenosynovitis – inflammation of the sheath that surrounds a tendon
  • Bursitis – inflammation of a bursa (a fluid-filled sac which forms under the skin, usually over the joints and between tendons and bones)
  • Trigger finger – a condition which affects the tendons in the hand

What steps to take at work if you begin to develop an RSI

If you believe you have developed, or are suffering with a repetitive strain injury, it is important that you stop the repetitive task immediately and report it to your employer as soon as possible as you have a responsibility to report the injury once you realise what is happening. You need to ask for a risk assessment to be carried out at work.

You must also record the pain in an accident book and seek medical treatment. An RSI cannot be ignored. Continual use of the injured area can lead to permanent disability.

If you are suffering a repetitive strain injury and you believe it was caused as a result of your work, please contact our helpful and experienced Personal Injury Team on 0808 252 5231 who will be able to guide you through the process.