Workplace injuries that call for workers’ compensation are not always suffered in singular events or accidents. For many employees, their injuries can gradually worsen over time due to repeating the same motion or action, again and again, day after day, and week after week. This type of gradual – yet still quite debilitating injury – is known as a repetitive stress injury (RSI).
An RSI is usually caused by the overexertion of and gradual wear to soft tissues, like nerves, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Among workers, repetitive stress injuries are most often diagnosed in the wrists, hands, neck, shoulders, forearms, and elbows. Even though an RSI does not happen due to a workplace accident, it still happens in the course of a worker’s employment, so it can be covered by workers’ compensation benefits.
Common Types of RSIs
A repetitive stress injury can occur in any occupation and field. However, it is more likely to happen to workers who are specialized in one specific type of work. Office workers who use keyboards all day and retail clerks who need to stay on their feet for hours each day are two examples of occupations that are more susceptible to an RSI.
Common forms of RSIs include:
- Arthritis and carpal tunnel: Using a keyboard, mouse, and small tools that require high dexterity can cause arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome after months or years.
- Back pain: Workers who are tasked with lifting and moving products all day can hurt their backs, perhaps not in one accident but instead gradually.
- Foot aches and pain: Employees who have to walk or stand for long hours are likely to start to develop foot aches and pains that might make it impossible to continue their expected work duties until a remedy is found.
- Eyestrain: Staring at a computer monitor or working under bright lights can also cause painful eyestrain and migraines if the activity is performed too often and too long.
How to Help Prevent RSIs
The first and best person to protect you from a repetitive stress injury at work is yourself. You know your body and what is causing its aches and pains better than anyone, so you will have the best chances of finding a way to prevent an RSI based on your work.
A few simple steps to prevent RSIs are:
- Work on maintaining good posture throughout the day
- Use ergonomic tools and equipment, like specialized computer chairs
- Take all breaks offered to you by your employer
- Stay hydrated if your RSIs include headaches and eyestrain
Of course, you are not the only one who should be concerned about your health and wellbeing at work. Your employer should be thinking of ways to prevent RSIs as well. Ask them about ergonomic equipment, break schedules, and any other concerns you might have about repetitive stress injuries common in your field of work.
Workers’ Comp Claims for RSIs
Don’t forget that a repetitive stress injury is a work injury that can be addressed with workers’ compensation benefits. Your employer should know as much, too, and help you seek the benefits you deserve by reporting your injury to their insurance provider.
If your employer or the insurer does not want to take your RSI claim seriously, then it will be time to get a workers’ compensation attorney in your corner. The Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford, LLC offers comprehensive legal services and representation to workers in Atlanta, Georgia. To see if we can help you get the workers’ comp benefits you deserve after suffering an RSI, please call (770) 629-9321 or contact us online.