What You Need to Know About RSI in the Office
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is an injury to the musculoskeletal and nervous systems caused by repetitive tasks or consistently sustaining awkward positions. The condition mostly affects parts of the upper body, such as the hands, shoulders, and neck. Due to the prolonged use of heavy-duty, vibrating equipment, it is typically associated with those working in the construction and manufacturing industries, though it is also commonly found with office workers performing repetitive tasks.
Tips on Preventing RSI
There are many different ways of preventing and treating RSI, but nothing that offers a quick fix solution. Instead they require the individual to correct their long-term behaviour. To limit the risks of serious back pain in the future, improving your posture is critical. Adjusting your chair so that your lower back is properly supported is the first step. Next, either by adjusting the height of the chair or by using a footrest, make sure that your knees are level with your hips and your feet lay flat on the floor.
If the pain you are suffering is in your forearms, hands, or wrists the problem may be the result of your mouse and keyboard. You should be able to use your keyboard with your wrists and forearms straight and level with the floor. Both Windows and OS X computers come pre-installed with a large array of keyboard shortcuts that you can use to minimise your time spent with the mouse. Using these commands in combination with the mouse over an extended period of time can help reduce the effects of RSI. Because your hands are already in close proximity to keyboard for typing, you may even find that your productivity improves after learning these new techniques.
Claiming Compensation for RSI
For those of you who have already fallen victim to RSI, you may be entitled to claim compensation for your injuries. In a 2008 study by Microsoft on over 1,000 office workers in the UK, 68% of those polled claimed to have suffered from symptoms of RSI. Musculoskeletal disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome are a common form of repetitive strain injury, and could prevent you from continuing to work in your normal capacity in the future.
If you feel that your employer has not taken the proper precautions in preventing these injuries, such as a lack of breaks when performing receptive tasks or inadequate furnishings and equipment, you should consider speaking to a solicitor. Carrs Solicitors have experience in dealing with a range of work related illnesses. They work on a no win no fee basis so you will not be charged during your claim, nor will there be any charges on the compensation your receive.