Repetitive strain injury or ‘RSI’ is an injury which tends to happen as a result of long-term, repetitive and excessive overuse of the arm. Because the condition can lead to time off work, as well as pain and suffering, it can lead to RSI claims being made.
Symptoms include arm pain and weakness of the limb or painful area, as well as a worsening of these symptoms with further use of the arm. The pain itself will not be targeted in one spot but spread across an area of the arm.
While the arm is usually the location of an RSI injury, RSI can also occur in the hands, wrists, back or shoulders. It can also spread from the arm to other areas if conditions remain the same over a long period of time.
How common is RSI?
Results from a 2008 study showed that a remarkable 68% of workers in the UK suffer from repetitive strain injury symptoms of one form or another, meaning that the condition is extremely widespread. The increase in laptop and Blackberry use is thought to be one contributor to increased levels of RSI.
In order to prevent RSI symptoms, employers should encourage their workers to take regular breaks from any repetitive activity, this includes typing or using a mouse. Seating and computer screens should be at the correct height and specially designed equipment used where necessary to create a more comfortable working environment.
When you SHOULDN’T make an RSI claim…
For the majority of people with symptoms of Repetitive strain injury, making an RSI claim is not advisable. This is because most people suffering from RSI have relatively minor symptoms, which can be alleviated by using more ergonomically designed equipment. In these cases it is unlikely that any compensation would be awarded.
Ergonomic equipment can include items such as specially adapted mice, trackpads or keyboards for regular computer users, or steering wheel covers for those who drive for a living. Improved posture is also an important measure for reducing the symptoms of RSI.
When you SHOULD make an RSI claim…
In some cases, though, repetitive strain injury becomes more and more serious over time, and where the injury is more severe there could be a case for making an RSI claim, if the injury was due to the fault of someone else.
Employers have a duty of care to do all that is reasonably possible to ensure the safety of their workers, including taking steps to reduce the risk of RSI where repetitive actions are a regular part of the job. If they do not do so, an employee suffering from such an injury may be entitled to make an RSI claim.
If your RSI symptoms are severe enough to prevent you from working, for example, you may be able to claim for lost earnings if you can prove that your employer has been negligent in the area of health and safety. In these cases, compensation for RSI claims can be fairly substantial.
How to make an RSI Claim
If you believe your repetitive strain injury may be severe enough to warrant a claim for compensation, you should seek advice from a specialist on whether your RSI claim is valid, and how to go about making a claim.