The number of repetitive strain injuries (RSI) at the workplace is on the increase, so it is important to know what causes them, whether you might be at risk and how to respond to such an injury. RSI injuries are covered under your workers' compensation insurance, so you may be able to get compensation if you discover the injury in time and get a lawyer from a place like the Law Office of Leslie S. Shaw to help you file a claim and prove that the injury is indeed related to a repetitive task at work.
What is repetitive strain injury (RSI)?
This refers to a host of painful conditions that affect various parts of the body such as tissues, tendons, joints and muscles. These injuries are primarily caused by repetitive work that strains a particular part of the body - say an arm or your back- leading to cumulative trauma and pain.
What kind of work might cause RSI?
Any work that involves repetitive movement can cause inflammation and pain to the part of the body involved. Computer and keyboard work is especially notorious for causing repetitive strain injuries to the hand, wrist and elbow, so any worker constantly using a mouse or typing on a keyboard for long hours and without proper ergonomics and breaks might end up with an RSI.
Grocery checkers, drivers, clerks, painters, typists or players of musical instruments are also at risk of RSI, as they are required to perform repetitive movements with their hands over and over again throughout their work day.
Other workers such as personnel who stock shelves or those doing any overhead work are also likely to suffer physical stress injuries to their backs and legs, while construction workers might suffer nerve damage in their hands due to repetitive jackhammering.
Other tasks that involve fixed-position activities, such as sitting or standing for extended periods, or gripping or holding a tool such as a saw or telephone for long periods could also cause cumulative trauma disorders.
Getting compensation for a RSI
Repetitive strain injuries are a lot harder to prove than trauma-related injuries, as the cause of injury is not always apparent, and symptoms do not appear immediately. The burden of proof is on the worker to prove that a repeated strain or stress resulted in the injury.
A doctor's medical report indicating repetitive motion as the cause of injury - which would include x-rays among other test results, along with the signed opinion of the doctor as to the cause of the strain - along with a factual employment statement from the injured employee describing in detail the kind of repetitive work they do every day, are crucial to the success of any RSI claim.