Same Old, Same Old: RSI Prevention Tips
When you hear about accidents and injuries in the workplace, you might immediately imagine them happening in traditionally dangerous work environments like factories, shipyards, or construction sites. You might also think of them as being highly traumatic events that happen in an instant. However, neither of those situations is always the case.
In reality, many types of occupational injuries occur gradually over time and they can easily happen to people who work in environments that are typically seen as being safe places to work. Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) are injuries caused by making the same types of motions over and over again throughout the day. Over time, those motions can add up and take a toll on the body and cause serious pain or the loss of mobility.
RSIs have become one of the most common types of workplace injuries and many different types of workers are at risk for them, from office workers and cashiers to factory workers and construction workers. Given that so many people spend their days working on computers. carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common types of RSIs, but it’s far from being the only type. According to OSHA, there are over 100 types of injuries caused by repetitive motions.
With how common RSIs have become, what can be done to prevent them?
Take Regular Breaks
When you spend much of your day doing the same thing over and over again, the best thing you can do to prevent injuries is take breaks regularly. Taking a few minutes to go to the printer, get a drink of water, or just to take a quick walk around will give your body a much-needed break. Taking a break gives you a chance to change postures and relax your muscles so they don’t become too tense over time. Better yet, make a point to take breaks and stretch.
If you’re an employer, it’s very important to make sure that employee workstations allow them to work as healthily as possible. Make sure you provide ergonomically correct furniture and equipment that will help ease stress on muscles and joints. Give employees the option to use things like gel wrist pads and alternative-style computer mice.
Another way you can help workers get a break is by cutting down on the amount of typing they have to do. If you have an employee who already has an RSI that makes it hard for them to type, look into providing them with voice-activated software.
Maintain Good Posture
As the day goes on, it’s easy to start to slouch, especially once you start getting tired. But good posture helps put less strain on your joints and muscles and helps you take full advantage of ergonomically-designed furniture and equipment.
If you’ve developed an RSI as part of your job, you may qualify for worker’s comp or may even be able to file a lawsuit if an employer’s negligence caused your injury. Be sure to talk to a workplace injury lawyer as soon as possible.