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February 23, 2009

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Physios warn of lack of progress on RSI

The lack of progress in tackling the problems of repetitive strain

injury (RSI) in the last six years means that the problem costs

employees around £300m a year.

This is according to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, which points to HSE figures for 2007/08 that reveal that more than a third (81,000) of RSI cases were reported in the last 12 months. This is just 6000 shy of the 87,000 new cases reported in 2001/02, when 222,000 people in work were found to be suffering from the condition.

An estimated 2.8m working days were lost in 2007-08 due to RSI, with the average affected person taking 13.3 days off sick. This added up to around £300m per year in lost working time, sick pay and administration, said the Society.

As a result, it is now calling on the Government to make it a statutory duty for employers to provide occupational-health services, and to incentivise employers to provide such services through measures such as tax relief. It also wants the Government to promote the business and social case for providing occupational-health services, with a particular emphasis on the effectiveness of early intervention.

Pauline Cole, a CSP spokesperson and member of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Occupational Health and Ergonomics, said: “There is a clear opportunity for employers to do more to provide occupational-health services, both with regard to prevention of RSI and rehabilitation.

“The CSP is calling on the Government to both encourage and enforce measures to address this with legislation, combined with incentives and best-practice guidance. We may then, after the frustration of many years of no progress, begin to see some reduction in the rates of this almost completely preventable condition.”

According to analysis by the Labour Research Department, on behalf of the CSP, the jobs where workers are most likely to develop a musculoskeletal upper-limb, or neck, disorder are: process, plant and machine operatives (1.21 per 100 workers); skilled construction and building trades (1.14 per 100 workers); and health and social welfare associate professionals (1.10 per 100 workers).


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15 years ago

Many factors play a role when looking at the roots of RSI. Chair, Desk, air quality, lighting ett but one that most people find annoying is the standard mouse. Standard, we have been taking in for granted and never asked many questions about it, just used it. After 20 years of use or more we see a clear surge in cases where the majority of sufferers have problems such as Trigger Finger, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome etc Government legislation ought to be in place and enforced but we computer users can also ask ourselves if we feel ok and be more… Read more »