Raising Awareness for Repetitive Strain Injury Prevention
By HPAC MagazineConstruction Health & Safety health lifting prevention safety
The final day in February (Tuesday, February 28, this year) marks International Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Awareness Day, so take time out to review how to keep safe on your jobsites.
Did you know that the final day in February (Tuesday, February 28, this year) marks International Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Awareness Day?
Of interest, RSI Day is actually February 29 (February 28 in non-leap years) since it’s the only “non-repetitive” day of the year, making it ideal to devote to raising awareness of repetitive strain injuries.
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) uses this annual occasion to draw attention to these injuries and share prevention methods.
Repetitive strain injuries (also referred to as musculoskeletal disorders) are an umbrella term used to describe a family of painful disorders affecting tendons, muscles, nerves and joints in the neck, upper and lower back, chest, shoulders, arms, and hands.
These injuries can happen to workers in all industries, manifesting over time from the repetitiveness of everyday movements like bending, twisting, clenching and reaching.
In an effort to spread awareness and educate workers about injury prevention, CCOHS has a collection of infographics, fact sheets, posters, podcasts, courses and other resources available for free at www.ccohs.ca/events/rsi.
In addition, at the provincial level, Construction Safety Nova Scotia (CSNS) has introduced new resources for construction employers around repetitive strain injury in honour of RSI Day.
“These types of injuries can be debilitating for a worker, causing them to not only miss time from work but it also significantly decreases their quality of life,” said MJ MacDonald, CEO of CSNS, in a media release. “It might not be as high-profile as some other areas of safety in construction, but musculoskeletal injuries and proper ergonomics deserve equal attention on construction sites.”
According to CSNS, RSIs account for 40% of all time loss claims in the construction sector in Nova Scotia at an average claim cost of $7,700, based on data from the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia.
Back injuries are the most common in the construction sector among this classification of injury, accounting for 34% of the musculoskeletal injury time loss claims, followed by leg injuries at 15%, and shoulders at 12%.
RSIs commonly occur from lifting, vibration and force, pulling, pushing, bending, gripping, and clenching. According to data from WCB NS, overexertion is the cause for 30% of time loss claims for MSIs.