When they think of being injured on the job, many people envision single, catastrophic events. This could include a construction worker falling from a great height or a nurse hurting their back while lifting someone. But the truth is that many working people in California face repetitive stress injuries. In this kind of injury, performing the same motion over and over again is the source of trouble.
Understanding overuse injuries
Repetitive stress injuries are often related to soft tissues and connective tissues in the body. They can include things like carpal tunnel, tendinitis and bursitis. This kind of injury can be related to many different kinds of work.
Servers may develop wrist issues based on the way they hold trays. Hairdressers may have repetitive stress injuries due to cutting with one hand all day, everyday. Rotator cuff syndrome may be caused by repeated lifting.
Hearing loss is another injury that can be related to a workplace. It can be caused by repeated exposure to loud noises in the military, or during events like concerts. Sometimes, warehouse workers may develop hearing loss if the machines there make noise above a safe level.
People who have repetitive stress injuries may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. This program is designed to pay health care expenses and in some cases to replace part of people’s income when they can’t work for a long period of time. Some repetitive stress injuries can possibly be improved via physical therapy, surgery or other interventions. But while recovering, workers need help to support themselves and their families.
Employers can help prevent repetitive stress injury by providing personal protective equipment and ergonomic options for workers. So, for example, they may provide chairs with better lumbar support. Providing earplugs, gloves and UV goggles may help prevent some of these injuries. Some workplaces even encourage stretching at the beginning of shifts.