Health & Medical Work Place Health

Repetitive Stress Injuries at Work

Repetitive Stress Injuries at Work
Written by Nancy

Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI) is a type of Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD) which affects the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, joints, and spinal discs.

Other terms used to describe it are Cumulative Trauma Disorder (CTD), musculoskeletal injury (MSI), and Occupational Overuse Syndrome (OOS).

According to the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB), RSI is one of the most common work-related injuries that contribute to 40% of all lost-time at the workplace.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common jobs that lead to RSI and the signs and symptoms to look out for.

What Kinds Of Work Lead To Repetitive Stress Injuries?

Office Computer Work

With a 9 to 5 desk job, workers are more prone to RSI as the strain of sitting and typing for hours causes wrist, arm, and back muscles to cramp.

Driving And Transportation

Regularly driving long distances, while transporting goods strains the back.

Besides pain in the spine, hand and leg cramps are a common result of handling the steering wheel and pushing the accelerator for hours on end.

Construction Welders

While working on steel and iron welding, construction workers have to hunch down and work with power tools that stress the back and arm muscles.

Assembly Line Work

Factory workers that are employed to work the assembly line have to stand on their feet for hours. This leads to leg cramps from standings still in one position.

Sawing And Cutting

The repetitive motions of sawing and cutting put a strain on arm, shoulder, and back muscles leading to pain that develops into RSI.

Sawing And Cutting - Workplace safety

Types Of Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI)

  • Tendonitis:Microscopic tears that cause inflammation of the tendon tissues.
  • Tenosynovitis:When the fluid-filled sheath surrounding the tendon tissues gets inflamed, the pain and swelling of the joint lead to tenosynovitis.
  • Epicondylitis:Also known as tennis elbow, epicondylitis is the inflammation of the tendons surrounding the elbow and forearm muscles.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:Numbness and pain in the wrist that travels all the way up to the arm, shoulders, and neck caused by the repetitive wrist movements.

Warning Signs Of Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI)

  • Dull throbbing pain
  • Tingling, pins, and needles
  • Numb or sore tendons
  • Loss of muscle strength
  • Reduced range of motion or lack of coordination and flexibility
  • Cramps and stiffness in ligaments

Warning Signs Of Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI)

Preventing Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI)

  • Take 5-minute breaks every hour to stretch your muscles.
  • Use proper construction equipment to cut wood and steel without hunching down too long.
  • Use proper lifting techniques to squat and pick up slabs of wood and avoid jerky movements.
  • Perform warm-up exercises before beginning physical labour in cold weather.
  • Use dollies and carts to move around the construction site and avoid walking for long distances that result in leg cramps.

Workplace Safety and Occupational First Aid Training

It’s important to teach your employees the importance of workplace safety and how to handle heavy machinery and equipment.

Whether it’s a desk job or hands-on contraction work; employees need to be trained with an MSD prevention program to avoid the risk of repetitive stress injuries in wrists, shoulders, leg muscles, and neck tendons.

Metro Safety offers stellar workplace safety training in British Columbia, Canada with additional fall protection inspection training and emergency first aid training.

The leading safety training institute offers basic knowledge to deal with workplace accidents and teaches advanced skills to deal with medical emergencies.

Get in touch with them at 604-521-4227 and sign up for health safety programs in BC!

About the author



I’m Nancy and no, I didn’t always look like I do in that picture on the right. My foray into health and fitness began as a brace-faced, 16 year-old who was too afraid to wear a two-piece at the beach because I felt my body paled in comparison to my much more toned friends.

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