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Office workers are at risk for repetitive strain injuries

On Behalf of | Aug 24, 2023 | Workers' Compensation |

People associate industries like construction, manufacturing and agriculture with hazards. However, many do not realize that office positions also carry risks.

A common type of workplace injury among office workers is repetitive strain injuries.

Causes of RSIs

RSIs are musculoskeletal conditions caused by continuous repetitive movements and awkward posture. According to a 2021 study by National Health Statistics Reports, in the three months prior to the start of the study, 9% of adults aged 18 or older had RSIs. While they occur in more than one industry, RSIs are increasingly prevalent in office workers.

People who perform tasks such as typing, clicking a mouse or using a phone repeatedly throughout each day are more susceptible to developing RSIs. The cumulative strain placed on tendons, muscles and nerves during these actions can cause discomfort, pain and reduced productivity.

Maintaining the same posture for extended periods also places stress on their wrists, hands, necks, backs and shoulders. Poor ergonomics (small workspaces, uncomfortable chairs, etc.) can exacerbate the conditions.

Types of RSIs

RSIs encompass various conditions affecting muscles, tendons, nerves and soft tissues. Common types include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, tenosynovitis, epicondylitis and trigger finger.

Workers’ compensation for RSIs

To be eligible for workers’ compensation and receive benefits to cover medical costs and lost wages, workers need to meet certain requirements. There must be a medically supported direct connection between the RSI and work-related tasks. The worker must also report the injury as soon as possible to his or her employer. It is important to keep a detailed record of lost work time due to the injury and ergonomic conditions contributing to it.

Employers can help prevent RSIs by offering regular breaks and ergonomically designed equipment. But even under these ideal conditions, RSIs can still happen.