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What is a repetitive stress injury?

Posted On March 29, 2015

During the last days of December 2012, a 48-year-old Illinois delivery driver discovered that he was no longer physically able to work. After 13 busy years on the job and a hectic holiday season spent lifting and transferring thousands of heavy packages, his back gave out. He had to take more than four months off to recover, according to a New York Times article.

Repetitive stress injuries are surprisingly common among American employees. Not all cases of RSI are tied to heavy physical labor. Some of the careers with the highest danger levels involve sitting at a desk. Young and old workers can suffer from this problem. In some cases, it may be permanently disabling, as Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys know. Proper ergonomic training cannot eliminate the risk of RSI, but it can make the working environment safer.

What causes RSI?

Repetitive stress injury is gradual damage to joints, muscles, ligaments or bones caused by constantly repeated job activities. Some of the most common culprits include the following factors:

  • Highly repetitive motion over a long period of time
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Intense levels of force
  • Awkward or unnatural postures

Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys know that even one of these factors may lead to repetitive stress injury.

Professions with a high rate of RSI

Jobs with an increased risk of RSI range from factory work to data entry. Spending more than six hours per day at a computer can increase the danger of injury. As line speeds in factories increase, more manufacturing employees are disabled by repetitive stress. Rising weight limits in shipping services can cause lifting trauma among delivery professionals. Airline employees are also at an elevated risk of injury as passengers cram more into their suitcases to avoid paying fees for multiple checked bags.

RSI has a major impact

Repetitive stress has a serious impact on the well-being of American workers and the costs of running businesses. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, employers pay approximately 20 billion dollars in workers’ compensation each year for employees with repetitive stress injuries. In a recent presentation, NIOSH doctors have called this a dangerous epidemic among American employees.

Nearly one out of every three days lost because of job-related injury can be traced to the effects of RSI. People who have suffered the effects of repetitive stress at work may wish to speak with Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys.

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