Repetitive stress injuries are among the most common and potentially life-changing workplace injuries.
They are also known as repetitive motion and repetitive strain injuries. As the name suggests, these injuries are a result of overuse of some parts of the body such as hands, arms, or neck. The repetitive stress causes damage to tendons, muscles, and nerves. An employee may suffer a repetitive stress injury by performing a task repeatedly over a long period of time.
Most of these injuries initially manifest themselves as aches and joint pains, and most workers tend to ignore them until the pain becomes worse and interferes with work. No matter how gradually the symptoms shows up, the worker is entitled to benefits under the Illinois workers compensation system.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
One of the best known examples of repetitive stress injuries is carpal tunnel syndrome which affects the wrists and arms. The movements that can lead to repetitive stress injuries over a period of time include:
- Repetitive vertical or horizontal motion of the wrist
- Straightening or bending of the elbow from its positions at a right angle
- Movement of the fingers when the wrist is in an extreme position
- Reaching behind the body or above shoulder level
- Lifting heavy objects from below the waist level
These motions, when performed for a long period of time repeatedly, can cause injury to the wrist, arm, back, neck, elbow, or shoulders.
Workers Susceptible to Repetitive Stress Injuries
Repetitive tasks in manufacturing, word processing, seafood processing, and assembly line often cause injury to the wrists, hands, neck, elbow, shoulder, and knee. Repetitive use of certain tools at the workplace for a prolonged time can also cause repetitive stress injuries. These tools and equipment include:
Computer mouse and keyboards: Typing, data entry, and repetitive clicking of the mouse can cause repetitive stress injuries among people working in offices.
Lifting heavy loads: Lifting heavy objects on the job regularly can cause damage to the spinal discs, and eventually result in a repetitive stress injury to the back. Truck drivers, construction workers, warehouse workers and delivery drivers are prone to these injuries.
Vibrating tools: Working with jackhammers, motorized saws, drills, dentist’s tools, and similar other vibrating tools can lead to repetitive stress injuries.
Forklifts: Constant and repeated rotations of the neck required by forklift operators cause repetitive motion injury to the neck.
Sewing machines: Those who work in textile mills or in footwear manufacturing are susceptible to repetitive stress injuries.
Chicago Workers Compensation Attorney
If you have sustained a repetitive stress injury as a result of the tasks you perform at the workplace, you must notify your employer immediately so as to start receiving your workers compensation benefits. If you have been injured on the job contact an experienced Chicago Workers Compensation Attorney at our law office.