Repetitive Strain Injuries in the Workplace
Serving Injured Workers in Colorado
Can you receive workers’ compensation benefits for RSIs in the workplace?
Our Denver work injury attorneys have answers.
Not all workplace injuries happen with a crash and a bang. Sometimes, workplace injuries do not occur from just 1 event but from a series of events over time.
Repetitive stress/strain injuries (RSIs) are caused by repetitive motions, and this category of work-related injury is growing quickly here in Colorado. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as much as 33 percent of all sick days are due to musculoskeletal injuries like an RSI. If your job requires you to stand or sit in the same position for long periods or perform repetitive manual tasks, you may be at risk for an RSI.
RSIs develop over time, so many people don’t seek out medical treatment until the injury is extremely painful. If an RSI goes untreated, it can become debilitating and hamper your ability to do your job or perform daily tasks.
We’ll always be there for you through the whole process. Every step of the way.
Common Types of RSIs
Over 100 varieties of RSIs exist. Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common and well-known types of repetitive stress injuries. Other common occupational RSIs a worker may develop include:
- Ganglion cysts
- Epicondylitis (aka tennis elbow)
- Knee injuries that affect the ACL or MCL
- De Quervain’s syndrome (aka BlackBerry thumb)
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Thoracic outlet syndrome
- Ulnar tunnel syndrome
- Impingement syndrome
- Radial tunnel syndrome
- Nerve entrapment disorders
- Dystonia (aka writer’s cramp)
- Trigger finger
- Raynaud’s disease
RSI Causes and Contributing Factors
Many different factors can contribute to a repetitive stress injury. When you perform tasks that are ill-suited to your physical abilities, it may result in excess wear and tear on the muscles and tendons in the affected area. For instance, if you work on an assembly line and must stretch across the conveyor belt, over time you may strain the muscles in your arms, back and neck.
Other potential causes of an RSI include:
- Heavy lifting or lifting items that have a disproportionate weight distribution
- Failing to take adequate breaks to let your muscles rest
- Working in an environment that’s not ergonomic
- Using poorly designed equipment
- Completing awkward and repetitive tasks
- Performing forceful movements
- Keeping a static posture for long periods of time
- Constant bending and lifting in a warehouse, factory or delivery job
- Continuous typing on a computer keyboard in an office environment
Work environments that place a high priority on employee performance and increasing the speed of production often yield a greater number of RSIs. For instance, your job may be repetitive and limited. To maintain production speeds, managers and supervisors may conduct electronic surveillance on employees to ensure compliance and limit bathroom breaks.
Pushing for faster and faster production without adequate break times puts workers at a greater risk of suffering an RSI.
What To Do If You Have an RSI
If you have concerns that you may have an RSI, and the condition has impeded your ability to perform tasks at work or home, take action quickly. Delaying treatment may make the condition worse and cause irreparable damage. Pain in your arms, neck and back though will only continue to get worse if you somehow manage to continue doing the motions that got you hurt without seeking treatment.
And not only is the pain unpleasant, it can eventually cause permanent disabilities if you don’t have it treated.
The first action you should take is to inform your employer of your injury and ask for a list of authorized physicians you can visit to get tested and formally diagnosed. Not only will this increase the likelihood of obtaining benefits, but regulations require your employer to identify and fix workplace hazards. Your employer needs to know about such conditions in order to fix the problem. Communicate your concerns to your HR manager or supervisor.
If your RSI is work-related, you may be entitled to financial payments for medical costs and lost wages through Colorado’s workers’ compensation system. However, you have a responsibility to inform your employer in a timely manner. The process of informing your employer will include filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Talk To a Colorado Work Injury Lawyer About Your Rights
If you’ve suffered an RSI or another workplace injury due to your job, you may be owed benefits through the workers’ compensation system. Navigating the workers’ compensation system isn’t always an easy process. Hiring an experienced work injury attorney helps you cut through the red tape and get the help you need.
We strongly encourage you to hire an experienced attorney to assist with your workers’ compensation claim and quickly address any obstacles that may impede the process, such as challenges to whether the injury is work-related or was a pre-existing injury. Our attorneys will gather the evidence necessary to protect your rights and secure compensation for you and your family.
Serving Injured Workers Throughout Colorado
From our office in Denver, we represent injured workers across the state—including in Colorado Springs, Littleton, Boulder, Aurora, Broomfield, Louisville, Lafayette, Lakewood, Golden, Thornton, Westminster, Longmont, Loveland, Fort Collins and many other Colorado cities.