Repetitive strain injuries can develop gradually over weeks, months or even years. Symptoms can include tightness, discomfort, stiffness, soreness, burning, tingling or numbness within hands, wrists and arms.
International Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Awareness Day is Monday, Feb. 28. According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), about 2.3 million Canadian adults are affected annually by RSIs and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) that can seriously limit their daily activities. RSIs and MSDs account for more than 40 per cent of all lost-time injuries recognized by Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). This number represents the single largest class of compensation claims in the province. Luckily, the majority of RSIs or MSDs are preventable.
What is repetitive strain injury?
The CCOHS defines RSIs as disorders that affect tendons, muscles, nerves and joints in the neck, upper and lower back, chest, shoulders, arms and hands.
RSIs can develop gradually over weeks, months or even years. Symptoms can include tightness, discomfort, stiffness, soreness, burning, tingling or numbness within hands, wrists and arms.
What are the causes of repetitive strain injury?
The following can contribute to RSI:
- Repetitive movements using the same muscles (e.g. continuous keyboarding)
- Use of improper lifting techniques (e.g. lifting with back)
- No rest breaks
What measures can be taken to limit or prevent repetitive strain injury?
Although it is not possible to eliminate all risks, a properly set up workstation or work area that is adjusted to the specific employee, taking appropriate breaks, and consciously changing of position can assist with reducing the risk. Applying various ergonomic principles will not only improve overall productivity but will also reduce the risk of developing RSIs.
- As part of York University’s commitment in providing a healthy and safe environment for all employees, Health, Safety and Employee Well-Being (HSEWB) will host a webinar on ergonomics on Monday, Feb. 28. The webinar will cover information regarding manual material handling (e.g. safe lifting techniques) that involve the use of good ergonomic principles and how to properly set-up a home and/or office workspace to prevent discomfort. To register online, click here.
For more information regarding Office Ergonomics, download a copy of “Ergonomic Comfort for Your Workstation” here. Additional ergonomic resources can be found on the Health, Safety and Employee Well-Being webpage.
Should you have any questions related to your workstation, contact your manager.