In the United Kingdom, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) is calling on the Government to encourage employers to do more to prevent and reduce repetitive strain injury (RSI) amongst British workers, according to a press release from the organization:
Currently, employers have a legal duty to prevent the occurrence of risks of injury or illness, which are reasonably foreseeable in relation to their employees. However, the latest statistics suggest preventative action to reduce the risk of RSI is still lacking, causing many thousands of workers to develop this debilitating condition.
Despite the well-proven business case of providing occupational health services, it seems to be a low priority with many employers. Only 12.5% of employers provide rehabilitation services and as few as 6.5% of small businesses provide any access to occupational health services for their employees. But it is a big worry to workers -– a recent TUC survey found that 40 per cent of workers felt RSI was a safety concern.
RSI costs employers around £300 million per year in lost working time, sick pay and administration. An estimated 2.8 million working days were lost in 2007-08 due to RSI, with on average each person affected taking 13.3 days off sick. However, RSI is usually preventable or treatable with help from a physiotherapist.
The CSP said that “There is a clear opportunity for employers to do more to provide occupational health services both with regard to prevention of RSI and rehabilitation”, and they are “calling on the Government to both encourage and enforce measures to address this with legislation, combined with incentives and best practice guidance. We may then, after the frustration of many years of no progress, begin to see some reduction in the rates of this almost completely preventable condition.”
In addition to calling for legislation, the CSP is providing a fact sheet on how to avoid repetitive strain injuries.
Refer to the CSP web site for comprehensive statistics on RSI in the UK, with particularly interesting data on the occupations with the highest rates of musculoskeletal disorders.