It’s common in light industrial and administrative work spaces for employees to sustain repetitive strain injuries (RSI’s) over the course of several months or years. The most common type of repetitive strain injury is tendonitis, an inflammation of the tendons which occurs from the course of repetitive movement. Often tendonitis presents itself in the form of “trigger finger” or “tennis elbow.” Depending on the severity of the injury, symptoms can include mild pain to swelling, tingling, stiffness and even weakness or sensitivity.
Taking steps to prevent these types of injuries is important for creating an environment in which all your employees can feel both safe and productive. Here are three practices that can dramatically improve the health and safety of your employees:
Provide Workers with Ergonomic Tools
One of the most effective ways of preventing repetitive strain injuries is equipping your workplace with ergonomic tools. An ergonomic workstation is one in which the employee can function and complete daily tasks without straining their body in an unnatural way. For example, ergonomic tools may include a wrist pad for workers who use computers all day or an ergonomic mat for employees who are required to stand for most of their shifts.
Require Frequent Breaks
It’s not enough to simply encourage or allow your employees to take frequent breaks during their shifts – you most require them to proactively prevent injuries. Small breaks give employees the opportunity to remove themselves from their workstations and stretch their muscles to relieve any tension or tightness. Making intermittent breaks part of your workplace policy will reduce both the likelihood and severity of RSI cases that could potentially become worse and have permanent, long-lasting effects on employees’ health.
Do Not Ignore RSI Cases
It’s important that you train your employees to recognize the early symptoms of RSI’s which typically include localized pain, soreness or decreased mobility. Employees who are suffering from these symptoms should be encouraged to take the time they need to seek medical attention and rectify the ergonomics of their workstation, so their injuries do not worsen. The more you make RSI prevention a priority, the easier it will be to reduce the likelihood of injuries – and sick days – at your organization in the long haul.
Whether your employees work on computers or on an assembly line all day, they deserve to have a workspace that allows them to complete their daily tasks without incurring harmful pain and injury. Taking RSI prevention seriously will help to minimize the negative effects caused by these injuries and provide a better, more productive work environment for everyone on your team.
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