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WorkSafeNB cautions workers to avoid repetitive strain injuries

February 26, 2015RSI Awareness Day Eng

Every year, the last day of February marks International Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Awareness Day. Employers, workers and health-care professionals from across the globe help raise awareness about RSIs, also known as musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs), cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs), soft-tissues injuries (STIs), overuse syndrome (OS) and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

WorkSafeNB has been using the term “musculoskeletal injuries” (MSIs) for more than 15 years.

“The term takes the focus away from repetition,” said Gino Thomas, senior ergonomics consultant at WorkSafeNB. “MSIs are not limited to injuries caused by repetitive movements. They are caused by a combination of primary risk factors, such as forceful exertion, awkward postures, static postures and repetitive movements,” he said.

An MSI is an injury or disorder of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, nerves, blood vessels or related soft tissue. Symptoms begin with mild discomfort. At a later stage, however, pain may be present all the time and the MSI may not be completely reversible to reach full recovery.

“Signs and symptoms of an MSI can appear suddenly or effects may be cumulative over a long period of time – weeks, sometimes months,” Thomas said.

Last year, MSIs accounted for approximately 36% of all lost-time claims at WorkSafeNB. Back and shoulder injuries are the most common, representing 65% of all MSIs.

“MSIs are a key focus area for WorkSafeNB,” said Gerard Adams, president and CEO for WorkSafeNB. “These conditions can be painful and debilitating – they not only affect a person’s ability to work, they affect everyday tasks and social activities. Our goal is to reduce the risks through education and, for those who have experienced workplace MSIs, to offer the best care and rehabilitation possible.”

WorkSafeNB employs ergonomist consultants who work with employers, workers, health and safety officers, health and safety consultants and education consultants across the province in the delivery of MSI prevention.

“Identifying high-risk tasks in your workplace is the first step to preventing these injuries,” Thomas said.  “It’s essential to involve the employees when finding solutions to address these high-risk tasks. Simple changes and modifications can make a significant difference.”

WorkSafeNB wants everyone to be safe at work and reminds all employees to be aware of their rights while on the job. Learn more about workplace MSIs: Contact WorkSafeNB at 1 800 222-9775, to speak to an ergonomist or consult the following WorkSafeNB resources:

What can you do to prevent MSIs in the workplace? 
  • Give a safety talk on MSI prevention to colleagues orstaff.
  • If you are a JHSC member, modify your monthly inspection checklist to include a few questions related to MSIs.
  • Become a Back Protection Agent.
  • Start your day with a warm-up and stretch routine. Ask a few colleagues to participate.
  • Post MSI awareness posters and pamphlets in your workplace.





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