Repetitive Strain Injuries Increasing
In recent months our office has seen a number of WSIB claims that involve Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI). As the work force ages, this number will only increase in the future.
From 2009 to 2010 WSIB allowed entitlement to 67,618 lost time claims accepted for Repetitive Strain Injuries. On average, WSIB accepted approximately 33,809 RSI claims per year.
The WSIB will grant entitlement to RSIs claims if there is sufficient evidence that the mechanics and repetitive nature of the work duties caused the injury or condition. The WSIB will consider and accept RSIs based on a gradual onset and in the absence of a specific and traumatic event.
Some examples of RSIs include:
- Repetitive Motion Injuries
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
- Trigger Finger
- Cumulative Trauma Disorders
Repetitive Strain Injuries are one of the most commonly reported workplace conditions reported by workers. If detected early, RSIs can be prevented if treated and addressed properly. A workplace assessment can often help identify and recommend a course of action to help eliminate RSIs.
Most workers affected by RSIs go through the following three stages of increasing discomfort and disability. It is important that workers and employers identify and recognize the signs and symptoms of the injury and make the necessary changes prior to Stage 3.
Discomfort may persist for weeks or months but is reversible. Most workers experience aching and weakness during work activities, but improve on days away from work. Interference with work tasks is minimal.
Discomfort may persist for months. Symptoms begin more quickly and last longer. Physical signs may be present and sleep may be disturbed. Work tasks may be difficult to perform.
Discomfort may persist for months or years. Symptoms are present even in rest. Activities of daily living are disrupted and sleep is disturbed. The worker is unable to perform light duties at work. The likelihood of recovery is poor.
Repetitive Strain Injuries are not always easy to understand or diagnose. For this reason, workers and employers need to focus on identifying and preventing injuries.
For office and support staff, attached are some suggestions for Safe Office Work Practices. Click on the link below:
Safe Office Work Practices-Preventing RSIs
For more information, please contact Greg Sathmary (Ottawa) at 613-260-0600 or Industrial Mediation Professional Corporation at 1-800-660-3554.
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