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How to prevent and address repetitive stress injuries on the job

Whether you're a machine operator, a package delivery person, or a desk worker, nearly every occupation holds the risk of suffering a repetitive stress injury.  While these injuries might not seem like a big deal at first, without treatment, they can get worse over time and can even lead to chronic pain or debilitating physical conditions.

As some of our more frequent site visitors may know from an article we wrote on the subject of RSIs, there are a number of conditions that fall under the heading RSI.  In every case, conditions get worse as that part of the body is exposed to repeated trauma, which brings us to this week's blog post topic: ways to prevent and address RSIs in the workplace.

Employing good ergonomic techniques in the workplace is perhaps the most important way to prevent RSIs from occurring. Good ergonomic techniques include:

  • Positioning your body at your desk so that your neck, arms, legs and back are relaxed and not strained
  • Stretching and changing positions to avoid cramps and strains
  • Practicing team lifting procedures with heavy loads
  • Using cushioned mats on hard surfaces to avoid stress to the back

Because some RSIs can result in a permanent loss of function, it's important to catch injuries early and report them as soon as possible to your employer. To avoid further injury, an employer may suggest alternate or restricted duties. An employer may also recognize an opportunity to improve ergonomics, thereby reducing the likelihood of further injuries down the road.

If an injury is too bad though and is starting to impact a person's ability to work, a worker may need to apply for workers' compensation benefits.

As you may know, in order to receive workers' compensation, you must be able to prove that your injury is work related. This is why reporting injuries immediately after they happen or when they become noticeable is so important. These reports give you the records you need to show when and where the injury occurred and how long it has been affecting your ability to work.

Source: ergonomics.about.com, "Top 10 Tips to Prevent Wrist Repetitive Stress Injuries," Chris Adams, Accessed Oct. 16, 2014

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