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    Claiming Compensation for Repetitive Strain Injury

    Published on: 16/09/2014

    Repetitive strain injury (RSI), also called work-related upper limb disorder (WRULD), is the term used to describe physical problems caused by repetitive movement or overuse. The condition usually affects the muscles, tendons and nerves in the upper body, most commonly the elbow, forearm, wrist, hands, neck and shoulders.

    RSI is not in itself a recognised medical condition, but an umbrella term for a variety of different injuries that can be the result of repeating a particular activity. Carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and bursitis are just a few examples of repetitive strain injuries.

    If a specific medical condition such as carpel tunnel syndrome is diagnosed, then someone is said to be suffering from type 1 RSI. This means doctors can identify the symptoms of a particular health problem, which can then be treated accordingly. On the other hand, someone suffering from type 2 RSI will only experience a general feeling of pain, rather than displaying the symptoms of a recognised condition. This can also be called non-specific pain syndrome.

    Repetitive Strain Injury at Work

    RSI is often the result of a person’s employment, particularly those who work with computers or carry out manual labour. This is because performing repetitive activities on a daily basis (for example, clicking a mouse or lifting boxes) will mean the muscles, tendons and nerves are overused. This will gradually strain the affected area, leading to symptoms of repetitive strain injury, such as cramp, throbbing, weakness, tingling and stiffness.

    RSI- the scale of the problem

    Work-related RSI is widespread, and the NHS estimates that it affects one in every 50 workers. But despite the frequency of the condition, it is important to remember that employers do in fact have a legal duty to prevent staff developing repetitive strain syndrome where possible. In order to meet this legal obligation and avoid risking a work accident compensation claim, an employer should carry out a risk assessment, evaluating whether or not an employee is in danger of suffering RSI. If a risk is found, measures should be implemented to reduce the chances of repetitive strain injury occurring. If a member of staff does display any symptoms of injury, then action should be taken to prevent the condition from deteriorating.

    If, however, an employer fails to take these steps and an employee develops RSI, then there could be grounds for a work injury claim. This is because an employer will have neglected to respect his or her responsibility to protect the health, safety and welfare of all staff. This will be deemed a breach of duty, and a repetitive strain injury sustained because of this breach will amount to personal injury – ie. it was wrongfully caused by the actions or inactions of an employer.

    In order to prove your employer was indeed negligent, it will be necessary to establish:-

    •  Your employer knew you were at risk of developing RSI;
    • Your employer did not take reasonable steps to prevent or reduce the risk of RSI;
    • The tasks you were asked to perform at work caused or contributed towards your RSI.

    Thinking of Claiming Compensation for Repetitive Strain Injury? Call our specialists

    If you have suffered work-related repetitive strain injury and would like to find out more about how to claim injury compensation, contact us today and speak to a member of our expert legal team.

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