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Mass production and repetitive stress injuries go hand in hand

San Jose and surrounding areas are excellent sources of American manufacturing, and the city's location in the midst of the booming Silicon Valley provides jobs to thousands of assembly line workers. Do you have your spot on an assembly line? Regardless of whether you work in an electronics or automotive manufacturing plant, once you have mastered repeatable tasks, you are a potential victim of carpal tunnel syndrome or other repetitive stress conditions.

The concept of mass production is the specialization of workers by teaching them to master repetitive tasks. While assembly lines simplify the responsibilities of workers, they can cause injuries that lead to musculoskeletal disorders and lost workdays. In fact, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, some of the most frequently reported injuries involve MSDs.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

The following notes about carpal tunnel syndrome might help you understand why taking precautions is crucial:

  • From your fingertips to your elbow there are 14 muscles, 48 nerves, 120 ligaments and 24 bones.
  • They all work together like the parts of a clock, and damage to even only one of the intricate components can cause severe pain.
  • If your job on the safety line is to tighten a set of screws repeatedly, day in and day out for months or years — or a similar repetitive action — some of those parts may become worn and damaged.
  • Other MSDs result from working in tight spaces that require awkward body postures, lifting, pushing or pulling heavy objects, and other repetitive motions.

Hand protection

The prevalence of carpal tunnel syndrome for assembly line workers has led to the development of gloves that protect all the intricate parts of the hands, wrists and forearms. You can now get gloves to protect different parts of the musculoskeletal system, depending on the type of repetitive motion you do. Selection is critical because one glove could work against one movement but provide protection for another movement.

The ergonomically designed gloves go through laboratory testing and then workers wear them for trial periods of 30 days to measure performance and the impact the gloves have on the workers' level of muscular fatigue. You might be one of the fortunate workers whose employers recognize the need for ergonomic protection to limit injuries and protect the bottom line.

What is the treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome?

The only successful treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome is surgery. It is a painful procedure that could prevent you from returning to work for an extended period. You might feel anxious about the doctor bills and hospital bills, not to mention the lost wages, if you should have to go for the required surgical procedure.

Fortunately, the California workers' compensation insurance system provides financial relief for injured workers. An experienced workers' compensation attorney in San Jose can assist you to help simplify the claims process for benefits to cover medical expenses and lost income.

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