International RSI Day - 28 February 2010

Repetitive Strain Injuries = Occupational Overuse Syndrome = Musculoskeletal Disorder = Cumulative Trauma Disorder

In different places around the world different names are used but the same injuries occur as a result of work. The workers' movement internationally recognises this on the last day in February, chosen  because the 29th of February occurs only once every 4 years (itherefore, is the least repetitive date in the calendar) - this year RSI Day falls on the 28 February

The RSI/OOS/MSD/CTD result from Hazardous Manual Handling that has not been properly identified, assessed and controlled.

In the meat industry there are far too many injuries that fall into these categories such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Epicondylitis, Rotator Cuff (to name a few). Many of our members who have suffered from these invisible conditions will know how hard it can be to convince their employers to recognise the condition as being work-related (and getting treatment), and assess and control the risk in consultation with the workers.

Carpal Tunnel is one of the common injuries wheare there is often debate about whether it is work related. The Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health has recently published Associations between work-related factors and the carpal tunnel syndrome—a systematic review which was a quantitative assessment of the exposure–response relationships between work-related physical and psychosocial factors and the occurrence of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) in occupational populations.

This involved systematic review of the literature on the associations of type of work, physical load factors, and psychosocial aspects at work to the occurrence of CTS. The associations between work factors and CTS were expressed in quantitative measures, namely, odds ratios (OR) or relative risks.

The jobs with the highest risk of CTS were in the meat- and fish-processing industry the Odds Ratio was 76.5

The occurrence of CTS was associated with high levels of hand–arm vibration, prolonged work with a flexed or extended wrist, high requirements for hand force, high repetitiveness, and their combination. No association was found between any psychosocial risk factor and CTS.

If your employer (or their insurer) argues that Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is not work related refer them to Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health 2009;35(1):19-36