Arlington Heights, IL Repetitive Stress Injuries in the Workplace

There has been an increasing trend of repetitive stress injuries or disorders (RSDs) in the workplace, largely due to an increased reliance on computers at work. These injuries, which result from repeated small strains on a body part rather than one major trauma, now account for six out of every ten workplace injuries according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Because these types of injuries can qualify for worker’s compensation, business owners should know what they are, and how they can prevent their employees from sustaining them.

What Kinds of Work Can Lead to RSDs in Arlington Heights?

While many types of work can lead to RSDs, some of the most common are computer use, barcode scanning, and fixed-position activities.

  • The issue with computer use stems from constant and repetitive keyboard activities. These repeated key presses, when performed on non-ergonomic keyboards, can lead to wrist, hand, and elbow RSDs. Those types of injuries collectively make up the most common forms of RSD.

  • Barcode scanning by cashiers also correlates with an abnormally high rate of RSDs. The use of scanning guns or the repeated pulling of items across a scanner leads to similar wrist, hand, and elbow RSDs. Furthermore, the job requires the cashier to constantly turn back and forth, which can cause RSDs in their neck or shoulders.

  • Workers whose jobs force them to hold a single position for long periods of time can also find themselves at risk for RSDs. Jobs with long, uninterrupted periods of sitting, standing or gripping, like someone standing behind a counter at a pharmacy for a full shift, can lead to RSDs.

The following occupations or activities may also cause RSDs:

  • Painting, sanding, and polishing
  • Writing
  • Driving
  • Working on an assembly line
  • Mechanic work
  • Pipe setting
  • Work done overhead
  • Cutting or sawing
  • Shelf stocking or other repetitive lifting jobs
  • Playing an instrument
  • Jackhammering, and
  • Massaging

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Other Forms of RSDs in Arlington Heights, IL

One of the most common RSDs is carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful condition caused by swelling in the wrist. Other RSDs can include tears in a person’s tendons, which connect their muscle and bone; swollen, painful muscles from overuse; and damage to the disks in people’s neck or back.

Fortunately many ergonomic products and strategies exist to reduce the threat of RSDs. Employers can upgrade their work equipment, and instruct their employees in proper posture for preventing RSDs. Additionally, OSHA issues guidelines related to proper ergonomics in the workplace. While these guidelines are merely voluntary, they can provide valuable insight into the current best practices for preventing RSDs.

Arlington Heights Injury - Warning Signs of RSD

Unfortunately, most people only notice RSDs after they already suffer from the condition. However, conscientious employers should encourage employees to pay attention to certain signs that may warn of an impending RSD. Pain, particularly aching limbs or extremities, can help alert workers to a developing RSD, but that is not the only sign. Numbness, clumsiness, and fatigue can also act as early warnings of trouble ahead.

In response to these rising concerns about RSDs, some states are looking at possible legislation surrounding workplace environments. Proactive employers may want to examine New Mexico’s new rules, which include proper lighting, acoustic pads to dull noise, flexible or adjustable chairs, and frequent work breaks among other things.

If you would like to know more about the legal ramifications of repetitive stress injuries, please contact Newland & Newland today. We provide support to clients in Lake County, McHenry County, Cook County, DuPage County, Crystal Lake, Arlington Heights, Barrington, Palatine, Rolling Meadows and throughout Northern Illinois.

  • Newland & Newland LLP, Attorneys, Arlington Heights, IL