Workers' Compensation for Repetitive Stress Injuries

Posted By Katz Leidman Grossman Wolfe & Freund || 7-Jun-2016

What are repetitive stress injuries (RSIs)? Occupational RSIs, otherwise known as a “repetitive stress injuries” involve more than 100 types of job-related injuries that are caused by constant wear on tear on the human body.

According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), RSIs are the fastest growing type of work-related injuries in the United States. RSIs can be severe enough that they lead to a situation where the injured worker is physically incapable of fulfilling the physical requirements of their job.

OSHA says that the risk factors that lead to RSIs, include:

  • Force
  • Repetitive motion
  • Heavy lifting
  • Awkward posture
  • Any combination of the above

An RSI, often caused by automation, can inhibit a worker’s ability to accomplish even the simplest of activities, such as brushing their teeth, or operating a mouse, hence the RSI can eliminate the worker’s ability to continue to perform their job. Automation in particular, has forced many workers to work faster than ever as they’re being filmed by electronic surveillance.

Real Life RSI Stories from OSHA

While automation has allowed American manufacturers to boost productivity, it has had the unfortunate effect of causing many workers to experience debilitating pain, crippling injuries, and severe impairment in certain areas.

OSHA reported that at one automated poultry plant in Mississippi, the workers’ bathroom breaks were not only limited to three per week, they were monitored.

In one case, OSHA tells the story of a man by the name of Henry G., who was a driver for a large delivery company for nearly 12 years. In 1994, Henry’s employer doubled the weight limit on boxes from 70 pounds to 150 pounds.

After spending years delivering heavy packages on tight time constraints, Henry’s back finally gave in the same day the new weight limit increased to 150 pounds. Henry needed back surgery, and today his spine his held together with screws, steel clamps and plastic.

OSHA reports that:

  • $1 out of every $3 dollars spent on workers’ compensation is for RSIs.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in four reported injuries are for RSIs.
  • Of 615,000 RSIs in 1993, 65% involved the back, and 32% involved the upper extremities.

If you are suffering because of an RSI, know that you are not alone and you have every right to file a workers’ compensation claim. To learn more about your rights to compensation, contact Katz, Leidman, Grossman, Wolfe & Freund!