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Health and Safety

Repetitive strain injury (RSI)

Repetitive strain injuries affect hundreds of thousands of workers every year in Britain.

RSI covers a wide range of injuries to muscles, tendons and nerves. Usually hands, wrists, elbows or shoulders are affected. Knees and feet can also suffer, especially if a job involves a lot of kneeling or operating foot pedals on equipment.

The more common workplace strain injuries are sometimes called Work Related Upper Limb Disorders or WRULDS. This can lead to permanent disabilities, so must be stopped at an early stage.

There are many different names for these conditions, including: Tenosynovitis; carpall tunnel syndrome; tendinitis; dupuytren’s contracture; epicondylitis or ‘tennis or golf elbow’; Bursitis; ‘Housemaid’s knee’ or ‘beat conditions’, and overuse injury.
To prevent strains, however, requires an acknowledgement that workers are not there to provide the flexibility in the system, through contorting and stressing their bodies and brains to cope with poorly designed equipment or systems of work, or through increasing their work rate to accommodate production demands, or because the workforce is too stretched, too cowed or too insecure to complain.


TUC guide: RSI: The Basics

TUC guide: Identifying potential RSI risks in the workplace

UNISON; Information sheet on RSI

Worksmart RSI FAQs and resources

International RSI Day 28 February each year

The most recent documents available on this subject are:

Kids and workers need keyboard skills
The TUC is calling on the government to help stop the epidemic of workplace repetitive strain injury (RSI) by introducing typing and keyboard skills into schools.
PDF version available for download
2 March 2007

Most strain injuries made on the shopfloor
Factory workers rather than managers are most at risk from repetitive strain injury (RSI), the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) has warned.
PDF version available for download
2 March 2007

Children should learn typing at school to help stop RSI epidemic, says TUC
To mark RSI Awareness Day today (Wednesday), the TUC is calling on the Government to help stop the epidemic of the condition that affects tens of thousands of workers across the UK by introducing typing and keyboard skills into schools.
28 February 2007

Editor wins £37,500 RSI damages
A Guardian newspaper night editor who says she was refused access to the company physiotherapist after developing crippling elbow pain has been paid £37,500 in damages for RSI.
PDF version available for download
26 May 2006

New physios face strains peril
New physiotherapists are at an increased risk of musculoskeletal disorders, according to the “largest ever” health and safety survey by their union, CSP.
PDF version available for download
7 October 2005

RSI a major pain for workers and bosses, say physios
The number of employees suffering from potentially debilitating work-related upper limb disorders is on the increase, physios' union CSP has warned.
PDF version available for download
16 September 2005

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