Defeating Workplace Repetitive Strain Injuries

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Repetitive strain injuries (RSI's) in the workplace, including, but not limited to carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis, have risen to pandemic proportions during the past 5 years. Without even considering worldwide costs, the United States alone spends more than 100 billion annually.

These annual expenditures include lost time from work, job retraining, light duty restrictions, employee replacements / fill-ins, rehabilitation, surgery, increased insurance premiums and many other factors. Even with these tremendous costs to businesses, individuals, government and taxpayers, the problem continues to be ignored, resulting in an even greater number of workplace injuries and overall costs. "Musculoskeletal disorders are the country's most costly category of workplace injuries and illnesses. In addition to spending $20 billion annually on workers' compensation costs due to RSI's, the U.S. spends another $100 billion on lost productivity, employee turnover, and other indirect expenses." The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research . The solution? Quit ignoring the problem and implement "prevention" protocols to eliminate repetitive strain injuries before they arise! Here are a few ways to do just that, with minimal costs to businesses and huge long-term savings for everyone!

Job/Task Rotation

Job rotation helps to eliminate repetitive strain injuries in the workplace. When implementing job rotation, the tasks must engage different muscle groups in order to allow recovery for those muscle groups already being strained. Be sure that each task takes not longer than 1-hour before moving to another task.

Workstation Design

In this category the key is to fit the workplace to the worker, not the worker to the workplace in order to reduce the onset of repetitive strain injuries. Having a properly designed workstation decreases the effort required in order to maintain a proper working position. (The workstation must be adjustable to fit the worker.)

Tools

The use of proper (ergonomic) tools and equipment significantly decreases the amount of force necessary to complete any given task, thereby reducing the chance of becoming afflicted with a repetitive strain injury. These tools don't actually eliminate the onset of a repetitive strain injury, but may increase the time in which it takes to get the injury. ( i.e. The injury occurs in 10- years instead of 2-years)

Work Habits

Taking necessary breaks and performing stretches and exercises to keep the over and underused muscles balanced are the most significant elements in preventing repetitive strain injuries from arising. Well-balanced muscles eliminate nerve impingement syndromes like carpal tunnel syndrome and encourage circulation, providing oxygen to surrounding muscles and nerves.

Talk with your employee health supervisor about implementing the necessary protocols to keep workers healthy and costs down. Take the responsibility of your health into your own hands and do the things necessary to prevent a repetitive strain injury from affecting you!

Mr. Anliker is a Therapist and Inventor of Therapeutic Exercise Products that are utilized by Corporations, Consumers and Medical Facilities around the world for the prevention and rehabilitation of repetitive strain injuries. cts-rehab.com