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Employment Resources

Ways to Combat Repetitive Stress Disorders at Work

By July 1, 2015No Comments
Repetitive stress injury, also known as cumulative trauma disorder or repetitive stress disorder, accounts for almost 60 percent of job-related injuries. While computer usage contributes to the majority of RSDs, other repetitive motions are also to blame. Your employer is legally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance that covers these injuries, but you should know your risks so you can stay safe on the job.

What Kinds of Work Cause RSDs?

Any job that requires repetitive motions can be at risk for RSDs. Likewise, not taking frequent breaks puts you at risk. Here’s a short list of other jobs with a high RSD risk.
  • Assembly line work
  • Butcher or meat packer
  • Date entry professional
  • Driver
  • Front desk clerk
  • Grocery clerk or packer
  • Jack hammerer
  • Instrumentalist
  • Masseuse
  • Mechanic
  • Order puller
  • Painter
  • Pipe setter
  • Polisher
  • Receptionist
  • Sawer or cutter
  • Secretary
  • Shelf stocker
  • Writer

Forms of RSD

Carpal tunnel syndrome is probably the most familiar form of RSD. It causes swelling in the tunnel between the wrist’s bone and ligament and puts pressure on passing nerves. Additionally, other forms of RSDs include:
  • Cervical radiculopathy – neck disk compression
  • Myofascial damage – muscle tenderness and swelling
  • Tendinitis – tissue tears where bones and muscles connect
  • Tenosynovitis – irritation between tendon and surrounding sheaths

RSD Warning Signs 

Typically, your body is already affected by RSD when you start to feel symptoms. However, make sure you see the doctor as soon as possible if you experience fatigue or pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in any of your extremities.

RSD Prevention Tips

RSD can be prevented in two main ways. First, use ergonomic equipment. The right desk chair protects your wrists as you type, and a stepstool can ensure you stand properly at the cash register. Second, take frequent breaks. At least once every 30 minutes, step back and give your neck, shoulders, arms, wrists and hands a break if possible.

Your employer will follow OSHA guidelines and carry workers compensation insurance, but you also need to take responsibility for your health. Understand your risk and take action to prevent RSDs as you reduce injuries at healthy at work.