You may have been working in construction for years, and when you wake up each morning, you can feel the toll your job has taken on your back. Or you have spent nearly a decade working in a warehouse and now you are suffering knee pain from lifting and moving boxes so often. You might think your pain is just a sign of getting older and wear and tear on your body, but you actually might have a repetitive stress injury because of your work duties.
Workplace repetitive stress injuries
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that each year about 1.8 million workers suffer from a work-related repetitive stress injury. About 600,000 of those injured workers need time off work to recover from their injury.
Some of the most common workplace repetitive stress injuries include:
- Back pain
- Shoulder pain
- Knee pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome (when the major nerve in the arm or wrist is damaged and leads to pain, weakness and numbness in the hand, wrist and fingers)
- Bursitis (when small fluid-filled sacs form in the joints, often forming in knees, shoulders or elbows from overuse)
- Tendonitis (excessive swelling in the tendons, often affecting movement of your hands, elbows and knees)
Some of the ways you can prevent suffering a work-related repetitive stress injury is to:
- Practice proper lifting techniques (lifting with your knees instead of your back)
- Evaluate your workplace ergonomics to see if improving your positioning can alleviate strain from repetitive movements
- Have proper posture
- Take proper breaks to give your body a rest
Getting workers’ compensation for a repetitive stress injury
You are eligible to receive workers’ compensation if you suffer a repetitive stress injury because of your job duties. You need to report your injury to your employer as soon as you notice your symptoms and then seek medical treatment for your injury. You will need a doctor’s evaluation to help establish you received your repetitive stress injury as a result of your job.
If you have problems getting your workers’ compensation benefits approved, you need to consult an experienced attorney. You may need more hard evidence to receive compensation, especially if you had a pre-existing repetitive stress injury that now has become more aggravated at work.
Repetitive stress injuries are common in the workplace, especially among manufacturing, warehouse and construction workers. If you work in one of these industries, you need to pay attention to your aches and pains and when they might be a sign of a repetitive stress injury that you should seek further treatment for.