Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), more commonly known as repetitive stress injuries (RSIs), are some of the most common injuries workers suffer on the job. They often develop over time due to overexertion and overuse.
And since most jobs require some sort of repetitive motion, whether it is typing or hammering, these injuries are a risk for almost all workers. Many workers already know of this risk, but recent reports speculate that the rate of these injuries could be spiking.
Are these kinds of injuries increasing?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of these injuries has remained fairly constant over the years. As of 2018, they make up roughly 30% of all work injuries leading to days away from work.
The rate of RSIs might remain steady in the workplace. However, the risk of suffering from RSIs seems to have increased as workers moved their workplaces into their homes. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on a recent study which found that more workers are reporting:
- Back pain
- Shoulder pain
- Neck injuries
These are some of the most common signs of RSIs, often stemming from maintaining poor posture or unnatural positions for a long period. Often, this can cause serious pain, muscle injuries and even nerve damage.
Why is this happening?
With many people working from home nowadays, it is unlikely that they have a proper work set-up like they would in their workplace. For example, at home:
- Their computer screens might not be at eye-level
- Workers sit at kitchen tables or on couches, instead of in desk chairs
- They do not get up to move as often as they would at work
These are only a few examples, but all of these factors put workers at a higher risk of suffering RSIs.
That is why workers must be proactive, whether they work in the office or from home. It is worth implementing ergonomic solutions – even at-home alternatives – to avoid long-term pain or serious injuries.
Can workers get compensation for these injuries?
As we have discussed in previous blog posts, MSDs and RSIs are covered under Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws. If workers can tie their injury to their work, then they can recover compensation.
It is also important to note that working from home does not prevent workers from obtaining compensation for work injuries. As long as the injury meets the conditions of occurring on the job, in the workspace and in the scope of employment, then workers are entitled to seek compensation for their injuries.