Know how to prevent repetitive stress injuries in North Carolina

Preventing repetitive stress injuries in North Carolina involves an understanding of ergonomics as well as taking breaks during the course of work.

Not every workplace injury involves a serious incident. Many people in North Carolina may be subjecting themselves to an injury without even knowing it. Repetitive stress injuries are not only painful, but they can result in extended leaves of absences from work. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these injuries led to the longest work absence in 2002, even lengthier than falls, transportation accidents and fires.

Repetitive stress injuries, or RSIs, result from the wear and tear that the body endures from repeated motions. People who are on the line at a factory job or are constantly typing may be especially prone to suffering an RSI, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tennis elbow.

Fortunately, there are some ways to prevent these workplace injuries from occurring, such as taking the following measures:

1. Understanding ergonomics

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration points out that one solution to RSI is to make the job fit the worker, or use ergonomics. This could mean providing equipment to assist people who have to lift heavy object during the course of their work, or using chairs and keyboards to better support the worker.

2. Taking breaks

Because RSIs occur due to repeated motion, taking a break from the activity can give the worker time to regroup. In general, experts recommend that once an hour, people who work at a computer get up from their desks, even if it is just for a few minutes. Stretching the legs and looking at something other than a digital monitor can give the body a welcome break.

3. Keep good posture

People who work desk jobs should maintain good posture to prevent an injury. A report from the University of Michigan suggests the following:

  • Keep feet flat on the floor
  • Shoulders and arms should be relaxed
  • Knees should be directly over the feet
  • Pelvis should be tilted forward with hips positioned at or slightly above the knees

Having a good chair can play an important role in maintaining good posture, which is again where ergonomics may come into play. People who stand as part of their work, such as in a factory line, should also keep good posture. That means keeping the shoulders back and having a slight bend in the knees. Having quality shoes that provide support can also help maintain posture.

4. Know the symptoms

Simply recognizing the symptoms that an activity is taking a toll on the body is key to preventing a more serious condition. Someone who is repeatedly exposing themselves to a certain motion or activity could experience pain, stiffness, throbbing, tingling or numbness in the area. These could arise only while completing the task, but after prolonged use, symptoms could present themselves while the body is at rest.

North Carolina workers' compensation should cover an RSI, though insurance companies may try to fight the claim. However, securing this money is necessary, as it enables an employee to receive benefits to make up for medical bills or time missed from work. Anyone who has questions about this matter should consult with an attorney.