What do Social Security claims specialists, Veterans Affairs claims benefit processors, aircraft mechanics, and office workers in general have in common?
They could be developing an occupational injury known as Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI) after repeating the same motions for hours on end over a long period of time. RSIs are a form of musculoskeletal disorders, such as tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome, that can affect tendons, muscles, nerves, and joints.
February 28 is International Repetitive Strain Injury Awareness Day, and we want to help raise awareness about these often invisible but debilitating injuries that affect hundreds of thousands of people every year.
“Having had an RSI since April 7, 1998, the day listed by workers comp, I feel strongly that efforts must be made to prevent additional employee injuries,” said AFGE SSA National Health and Safety Committee Member and Local 3172 Health and Safety Representative Howard Egerman. “I do the best I can each day to continue to work despite three operations and countless shots in my hands and wrists.”
Working from home during the pandemic adds to the risks because people may not have had the right workstation, at least when they started.
Here are a few things you need to know:
Who’s at risk?
Anyone doing repetitive work like working on keyboards or using tools and instruments doing the same thing over and over.
What are the symptoms?
Pains, burning, tingling, swelling and loss of joint movement and strength in the affected area(s). If not treated, the symptoms can progress into crippling disorders that are difficult to correct.
Why is awareness and prevention important?
This kind of occupational injuries may not be life-threatening, but they can rob workers of their mobility affecting their career, family, and finances.
Causes of RSI
Workplace preventive measures
The majority of RSI are preventable. A few examples of effective steps employers and employees can take:
Next week we’ll talk about do’s and don’ts for those working from home.