Repetitive Strain Injury: The Steps to Take

Carpenter working with circular saw. Over time this can lead to a repetitive stress injuryFor comic book artists, it can manifest in the form of carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrist, due to long hours and consistent weeks being spent on various deadlines. For plumbers and carpenters, it can manifest in the form of tennis elbow, a nightmare that worsens over time and largely restrict someone’s ability to work.  Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is an issue that affects many more Americans each year than one might think. Just under two million workers are affected by RSI each and every year, and the resulting medical treatments can cost a grand total of an estimated $17-20 billion annually.

According to the US Department of Labor and OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration), thousands of Americans suffer from RSI, making it one of the most common types of workplace injuries and occupational health problems. More specifically, as per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, two-thirds of reported occupational illnesses were specifically related to repeated upper-body trauma to the worker, such as in the elbow, neck, wrist, or shoulder.  Many employers tell their workers that this type of injury isn’t eligible for workers compensation benefits, but it most certainly is.

Worker’s Comp Benefits in RSI

We’ve already discussed the fallacy that many have regarding workplace injuries, in assuming the injury must be caused by a singular, isolated event, such as cutting yourself on a blade or having a leg crushed by machinery. With RSIs, under certain circumstances, worker’s compensation can also be awarded, so long as the injury is work-related.  That means that while an RSI caused by your own fault can still be eligible, it must be proven that this injury only came about due to tasks required by your job. If proven, the worker is compensated for lost wages, medical expenses (even after they return to work), vocational rehabilitation, or in a lump sum settlement (such as the Chicago example above).  To learn whether your injury qualifies, it is imperative to contact an experienced Michigan lawyer who can examine all the evidence in your case.

Preventing Repetitive Stress Injuries At The Workplace

Even with the proper compensation, RSI’s are painful, often chronic, and debilitating for a worker and their family. Therefore, it is far preferable to take steps in order to prevent contracting them in the first place.  Working with proper ergonomics (ensuring workstations and equipment are up to par and you exercise good posture) is essential, just as getting the right amount of rest and exercise are necessary. Complying with OSHA guidelines on workplace safety and techniques is also vital, as it will protect workers from developing RSI’s in otherwise preventable situations.

Get Your Life Back On Track After A Repetitive Stress Injury

While it goes without saying that both employers and employees should be taking steps to make sure workers do not develop RSIs, it is also necessary for workers to know what to do in case they develop a work-related RSI anyways.  If you believe you have a valid claim for worker’s compensation, reach out to our team of skilled and experienced Michigan-based worker’s comp lawyers.  You can also call us at +1 (517) 347-6900.

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