What is RSI?
Repetitive Strain Injury, also sometimes referred to as Occupational Overuse Syndrome, refers to stress and damage inflicted upon the muscles, tendons and nerves by repeated tasks and awkward positioning.
Most commonly occurring in the upper body with the fingers, hands, arms and neck, RSI is frequently work-related and is usually avoidable through proper implementation of Health and Safety protocols. Jobs in office environments, factors and manual labour jobs sometimes cause RSI through repeated movements, poor posture and not allowing frequent rest breaks; cold temperatures and vibrating equipment are also thought to increase the risk of RSI. Your employer has a legal duty to make your workplace safe and prevent work-related RSI.
Effects of RSI
According to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, around 450,000 UK workers have upper limb RSI, and RSI.org report that 1 in 50 of all UK workers in the UK have reported an RSI condition. Due to this, hundreds of thousands of UK employees are struggling in their work and everyday lives, and it is estimated that more than 5 million working days are lost in sick leave due to RSI each year. UK studies have also shown that management which includes fair treatment and consideration of working conditions result in far higher job satisfaction rates. The effects of RSI are widespread and it is of utmost importance that this issue is treated seriously to ensure the safety of workers.
Symptoms of RSI
RSI symptoms often develop over time and can range from mild to severe. These symptoms may include pain, aching, stiffness, numbness, weakness or cramp. At first, these symptoms may only be noticeable when carrying out a particular repetitive action – if this is the case, cease performing this action immediately and inform your employer. It is also important to seek medical advice and potentially receive treatment to ensure your symptoms do not get any worse.
However, if you have progressed beyond the early stages of RSI and your pain has now become a serious issue due to poor working conditions, it may be worth seeking legal advice in addition to medical help.
HAVS and CTS
Similar to RSI, HVAS (Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome) and CTS (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome) may be caused by poor attention to safety and work conditions. HVAS is a form of Raynaud’s syndrome which cases impaired blood circulation and damage to nerve supply, and is commonly found in workers who vibratory power tools. The damage this can cause is often permanent.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the compression of the median nerve which passes into the thumb. Swelling in the wrist area causes nerve to be compressed, which results in the area around the thumb becoming numb of weak. CTS can be caused by or greatly worsened by poor working conditions in jobs such as manufacturing, assembly line work or construction work.
Can I claim for a work-related RSI or other work-related injuries?
Your employer has a legal obligation to ensure that you are working in an environment which adheres to current Health and Safety laws. If your employer is guilty of negligence in abiding by these laws, either by not safeguarding your wellbeing in the workplace or by refusing to take action when you have raised concerns, you may be eligible for financial compensation.
What steps should I take?
The most important step to take if you have suffered from RSI, HAVS or CTS is to seek medical advice and treatment. If you think your employer’s negligence has caused your injury, you should also consult a solicitor for whether further action may be warranted. As one of the UK’s leading specialists in personal injury claims, we at Beecham Peacock have extensive experience in helping people suffering from these conditions to recover and obtain compensation. By contacting us, you are choosing a dedicated and professional team of expert solicitors to help you receive the compensation you deserve.
If you’re interested in claiming, call our Repetitive Strain Injuries specialists today on 0191 232 3048. We will guide you through every stage of this process, ensuring you receive support and advice bespoke to your needs and helping you make a successful RSI claim.