Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) are common in many industries. If you are experiencing pain, discomfort, or limited mobility due to repetitive tasks at work, it is crucial to understand the effects of RSIs and your rights as an employee.
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides medical benefits and wage replacement to employees who suffer from work-related injuries or illnesses. It operates as a no-fault system, which means that employees are generally entitled to benefits regardless of who is responsible for the injury, as long as it was not intentionally self-inflicted.
To be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits due to an RSI, an employee must meet the following criteria:
- The injury or illness must be work-related: The RSI must have resulted from the employee’s job duties or occurred within the scope of employment.
- The employee must be eligible: Independent contractors and other workers may not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
- The employee must report the injury in a timely manner: Each state has specific deadlines for reporting workplace injuries, so it is essential to notify the employer and file a claim promptly.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim for an RSI typically involves the following steps:
- Report the injury to the employer: Inform the employer about the RSI as soon as possible, providing details about the symptoms and their connection to the job duties.
- Seek medical attention: Visit a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation and diagnosis of the RSI. Follow the prescribed treatment plan to ensure a proper recovery.
- Complete the necessary paperwork: Fill out the required workers’ compensation forms provided by the employer or the state workers’ compensation agency. Make sure to include all relevant information and supporting documentation.
What Are Common Types of RSIs?
RSIs result from repetitive tasks, forceful exertions, vibrations, or awkward positions. These injuries develop over time and can cause damage to the nerves, muscles, and tendons. Some common RSIs include:
- Tendinitis: Inflammation or irritation of a tendon.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome: Compression of the median nerve in the wrist, leading to pain and numbness in the hand.
- Tenosynovitis: Inflammation of the tendon sheath, causing pain and swelling around the affected joint.
- Tennis elbow: Caused by overusing the forearm muscles, leading to pain and tenderness on the outer side of the elbow.
- Trigger finger: Occurs when a finger gets stuck in a bent position due to inflammation and narrowing of the tendon sheath.
Symptoms of RSIs can vary but often include pain, stiffness, swelling, and reduced range of motion in the affected area.
Preventing RSIs in the Workplace
Prevention is vital when it comes to RSIs. Employees can take several measures to minimize their risk of RSIs:
- Maintain good posture: Proper sitting or standing posture can alleviate strain on the muscles and joints. For example, keeping the back straight and shoulders relaxed while working at a computer can help prevent neck and shoulder pain.
- Take regular breaks: Short breaks throughout the workday allow the body to recover from repetitive tasks. For instance, taking a five-minute break every hour to stretch or walk around can significantly reduce the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Practice proper ergonomics: Adjusting the workstation to promote a neutral body position can minimize strain. This may include using an ergonomic keyboard, positioning the computer monitor at eye level, and adjusting the chair height for optimal comfort.
- Perform stretching exercises: Regular stretching exercises can help maintain flexibility and reduce the risk of injury.
Speak With a Monmouth County Workers’ Compensation Lawyer at the Law Offices of Michael S. Williams for Help With Your RSI Claim
Getting injured at work is never ideal, but you have rights as an employee. If you need help with your RSI claim, contact a Monmouth County workers’ compensation lawyer at the Law Offices of Michael S. Williams. Call us at 732-351-2800 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We are located in Tinton Falls, New Jersey and serve clients in the Shrewsbury, Tinton Falls, and Monmouth County areas and throughout New Jersey.