Newsletter 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 (therefore, 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 where 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


For those of you who are not yet aware the AMIEU was invited to apply for another round of funding from WorkSafe Victoria late last year and were successful in securing funding from WSV to assist with the running of the HSR Support Officer role.

This means that hopefully for at least another couple of years all HSRs across the meat industry in Victoria will have access to assistance from a dedicated OHS Support team.

This includes workplace visits for all kinds of assistance for HSRs including intro training to your website; which is an excellent source of information HSRs can trust has been sourced to offer them the highest level of protections and assistance.

I was again lucky enough to be appointed to the role by the AMIEU Committee of Management which means for all the HSRs who have been around for sometime nothing much changes, however for all you HSRs who are relatively new to the role please take some time to look at the website above that was set up just for you!!
Also if any HSR has a query all you need to do is text me, email me, call me or the office and I will get back to you as soon as I possibly can to offer assistance or put you onto someone who can assist you if I cannot.


This year’s focus for the International Workers Memorial Day will be the fact that Union workplaces are safer workplaces; this fact is proven and is widely recognised across the globe.

As it is still a while off some of the finer details are not yet available but I thought we should put the thought in everyone’s head to give them time to organise workplace vigils, time off to attend larger vigils when details become available of where they will be held or just even create awareness at the workplace either through posters, newsletters (which I can assist you to develop) and or OHS committee meetings.