Friday, February 27th, 2009 marks Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) awareness day. On this awareness day the National Union joins labour unions across Canada to urge employers to take these soft tissue injuries seriously.
RSI is a term used to describe any one of a host of occupational injuries to the upper body; most commonly to the neck, shoulders, arms and hands. With repeated movement or long term use of a muscle set, RSI may result.
Changes to the work station, ergonomically designed equipment and furniture, and frequent short breaks to change activities and posture will prevent undue strain of muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons.
Making the workspace fit the worker is the key to avoiding painful injury and lost-time. With these injuries being the most common claims, it is clear that they are not being identified as a hazard in the workplace until after and injury is sustained.
After injuries occur return-to-work periods need to be considered as well as a prevention measures to avoid the reoccurrence of the injury. To save employers time and resources, more importantly, to save workers the pain of a soft tissue injury these hazards need to be assessed BEFORE injury.
Improved initial design of job tasks and work environments will succeed in avoiding injuries and curb associated costs. Frequent breaks from repetitive tasks needs to be encouraged. For sedentary jobs, simply getting up and moving every hour can make a big difference.