The Three Best Ways to Avoid Repetitive Strain Injury in the Workplace

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is the product of repeated and strenuous demands on a person’s body. It occurs when somebody regularly repeats tasks and causes their body to be subject to strain, cold environments, vibrations, pushing against hard surfaces and prolonged awkward positions.

And as more and more people are working in offices and are sat at a desk all day, repetitive strain injury is becoming increasingly more common. So common in fact, that personal injury solicitors in Norfolk are seeing consistent increases in the number of clients seeking reparations for workplace injuries related to repetitive strain.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Currently in the United States, RSI affects around 7 per cent of the population. Around 14 per cent of appointments with doctors are related to the diagnosis or treatment of repetitive strain injury and almost 20 per cent of stays in the hospital are due to RSI.

RSI is usually the result of everyday, ordinary activities like using a cell phone excessively, or playing too much console games and merely typing. When a person is suffering from RSI, they often complain of soreness in their muscles, nerves and tendons. They tend to experience one or more of the following:

  • Rapid bursts of pain and stiffness and swelling usually in the arm, back, shoulders, wrists, hands, fingers or thumbs.
  • The pain will usually intensify with continued activity
  • Sufferers of RSI can feel weak and will experience lower endurance
  • Increased feelings of clumsiness, limbs often feel heavy. They lack control, coordination and find themselves dropping items more often.

ball-chair-office

Ways to avoid RSI in the workplace

The three main ways to ensure you don’t suffer from RSI are to adopt:

  1. Good posture
  2. Good technique
  3. Don’t overuse

You can help yourself by:

a)      Investing in (or getting your company to invest in) a wrist rest. This will help your palms be more parallel to the keyboard, provide support and flatten out your hands.

b)      Make sure your chair is adjusted correctly. Adjust it to ensure your forearms are horizontal to the keyboard and that your feet are flat on the floor.

c)       Good posture is key. Your feet need to be flat on the floor, knees directly over your feet (bent at right angles). Your chair should support your lower back, which needs to be arched (pushed back) and your upper back should be relaxed with your shoulders at your side.

d)      Be aware of your body and know when to stop. As soon as you feel any discomfort or pain, STOP. Although there is often pressure to finish a job, remember that if you develop RSI, it will slow you down in the long run.

e)      Give your body a rest. Remember it’s important to take regular breaks. Try wiggling your fingers, shaking your wrists and going for a stroll around the office. This will help to alleviate pressure to your joints, give your eyes a break and help to lift your productivity,

 Ok, so spending eight hours a day at your desk typing can’t cause too much strain on your body, right?

                Wrong.

Typing 40 words per minute means that your press on average 12,000 keys each hour, which totals to 95,000 per day.

8 ounces of force is needed to press each key.

This means that each day almost SIXTEEN TONS of force will be exerted by your precious fingers.

So, when you get back to work – do things right, sit properly and take regular breaks to make sure your job doesn’t negatively affect your health.

Ruth Barton

Ruth is an enthusiast for all things web, she specialises in creating engaging content for online audiences and loves to learn new and share new ideas.

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