Common Workplace Injuries: Repetitive Motion Injuries

You’ve likely heard of slips, trips, and falls as some of the most common workplace injuries. But what about repetitive motion injuries, also known as repetitive strain injuries (RSIs)?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), RSIs account for a large portion of all workplace injuries and illnesses, with healthcare costs for treating them ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars per affected worker.

According to repetitive motion injury lawyers from Diefer Law Group, repetitive stress injuries resulting from work are viable grounds to file a workers’ compensation claim. Filing for repetitive motion injury claims can be easy but it comes with its own sets of challenges depending on the circumstances of your injuries. For one, it can be hard to prove that such a condition was caused by your job.

In this article, we’ll cover the causes of repetitive motion injuries, its toll on our bodies and some prevention tips.

Causes of Repetitive Motion Injuries

Repetitive motion injuries develop when you perform the same task repeatedly without allowing your muscles to rest and recover adequately. These injuries often stem from prolonged and continuous movements like typing on a keyboard for hours without breaks or lifting heavy objects repeatedly. The constant strain on specific muscle groups can lead to inflammation, pain, and reduced flexibility over time.

A poor ergonomic setup is another common cause of repetitive motion injuries. If your workstation isn’t properly adjusted to support your body’s natural alignment, you may be putting unnecessary stress on certain muscles or joints. This can worsen the effects of repetitive motions and increase the risk of injury.

Failing to rest your body and switch tasks throughout the day can contribute to the development of these injuries. You should engage in a variety of movements and activities to prevent overuse of specific muscle groups and give your body the opportunity to recover. Taking short breaks and incorporating stretching exercises into your routine can help prevent repetitive motion injuries in the workplace.

If you’re suffering from RSI, you need to inform your employer immediately. In most states like North Carolina, workers’ compensation laws have strict guidelines that all employers must follow. Failure to report your injuries could result in getting your claims denied.

Common Symptoms To Watch For

Some of the most common symptoms to look out for are swelling, numbness, or tingling in your muscles and joints. These symptoms can be early warning signs that your body is being overworked and may lead to more serious conditions if ignored.

If you’re experiencing stiffness or aching sensations in specific areas that are subjected to repetitive motions, pay attention to any discomfort that persists even after rest.

Another common symptom to watch for is reduced range of motion in the affected areas. Where  you find it challenging to move your muscles and joints as freely as before, hindering your daily tasks and work performance. Weakness in the muscles involved in repetitive motions may also become noticeable over time. If you start noticing any of these symptoms, have them addressed to prevent further injury and maintain your health.

Impact On Workplace Productivity

If you ignore the signs of repetitive motion injuries, it can affect workplace productivity. These injuries may start with mild discomfort, but over time they can escalate into serious conditions that hinder your ability to perform at your best. When you experience pain or discomfort due to repetitive motion tasks, your focus and efficiency are compromised. Tasks that once took you a short amount of time may now require more effort and concentration, slowing down your work pace.

As the discomfort progresses, you may find yourself taking more breaks to alleviate the pain, further interrupting your workflow by missing deadlines, decreasing quality of work, and increasing absenteeism. Untreated repetitive motion injuries can also result in long-term disabilities that may require time off work for recovery, impacting both your productivity and the overall efficiency of the workplace.

Strategies For Prevention And Relief

To prevent and alleviate workplace repetitive motion injuries, implement ergonomic practices and take regular breaks to rest your muscles and joints. Ergonomics focuses on designing workspaces and tools to fit the individual, reducing strain on the body. Adjust your workstation to maintain proper posture, and have your chair, desk, and computer positioned correctly. Use ergonomic tools such as wrist rests and adjustable chairs to support your body while working.

Apart from ergonomic practices, taking regular breaks prevents repetitive motion injuries. Every hour, take a short break to stretch and relax your muscles. Perform simple exercises like neck rolls, shoulder shrugs, and wrist stretches to reduce tension and increase blood flow. These breaks allow your muscles and joints to recover from continuous use, lowering the risk of injury.

Importance Of Ergonomics And Training

Using proper ergonomics and providing training on correct posture and workspace setup reduces the risk of workplace repetitive motion injuries. Ergonomics focuses on designing the workspace to fit the worker, aiming to prevent strain and discomfort.

Setting up workstations ergonomically with chairs at the right height, computer screens at eye level, and keyboards and mouse within easy reach, greatly reduces the likelihood of developing repetitive motion injuries. While in training employees on how to maintain correct posture while working and encouraging regular breaks to move and stretch helps prevent strain on muscles and joints.

Proper ergonomics and training not only reduce the risk of injuries but also improve overall comfort and productivity in the workplace. Investing time and resources in implementing ergonomic practices and providing training demonstrates a commitment to employee well-being and safety which benefits both the employees and the organization.

Conclusion

There are risks of repetitive motion injuries in the workplace that everyone has to be aware of.

Awareness of its causes and symptoms, as well as implementing prevention strategies and ergonomic practices, can help you protect yourself and your colleagues from these common injuries.

Promoting a safe and healthy work environment minimizes the impact on productivity and ensures long-term wellbeing for all employees.

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