Doug had worked for years in front of an injection mold. He spent his days pressing a button to activate the machine and pulling a lever when the piece had been molded. Every 12 minutes, the box of parts was full, and he had to move the crate from under the machine to a conveyor belt traveling to the next section of the factory. He was happy with the job security, but lately the soreness in his back had become too much to bear.
The dangers of repetitive strain injuries (RSI) have been studied for hundreds of years. Workers in nearly any industry can suffer serious tissue damage after repeating the same motion for days, weeks or even years over the course of their career. These repeated motions can lead to stress and strain on generally any body part that controls or supports motion. While effects can differ in severity and strength based on the affected body part, common symptoms can include:
- Pain or tenderness
- Pulsating or throbbing sensations
- Tingling throughout the hands or arms
- Loss of sensation
- Loss of strength
As in the example of Doug and his repetitive work in front of an industrial machine, RSI generally follows the overuse of a particular muscle or muscle group. However, the condition can also appear in widely varied scenarios, including:
- Working with vibrating machinery
- Working in cold temperatures
- Maintaining the same posture for prolonged periods of time
- Direct, continuous pressure to a specific area of the body
- Poor posture or working in an ergonomically incorrect workspace
Overuse of a particular muscle or group of muscles can lead to devastating, long-lasting effects. Workers might suffer chronic pain and muscle weakness that could directly impact their ability to continue their job. Fortunately, these individuals might be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits based on their unique situation and the injuries they have suffered. It is wise to seek legal guidance from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to learn more about your options.