Work-related repetitive stress injuries are surprisingly common in the workplace. They are on the rise as a work related injury as computers become more common at work. In fact, roughly 60 percent of all job-related injuries in the United States are due, at least in part, to repetitive stress injuries. Approximately one in eight Americans will develop a repetitive stress injury at some time in their life. With this high occurrence, is a good thing that most repetitive stress injuries that arise because of work are covered by workers’ compensation.
What is a Repetitive Stress Injury?
Working in the same place, doing the same thing, day after day, hour after hour, can do serious harm to your body. Humans simply were not made to stand (or sit) in one place and engage in the same activity for hours on end. Repeating the same motion can lead to overuse of certain muscle groups, tendons, nerves, and ligaments, which can result in injuries.
A good example of a repetitive action that can lead to a repetitive stress injury is working on an assembly line. If the workers do not get reassigned or moved, they end up doing the same motion over and over again while they assemble parts. Over time, this will cause problems to the areas of the body that you use to complete these repetitive motions.
You may have a repetitive stress injury if you experience the following symptoms:
- Tenderness, stiffness, or tingling in the affected location
- Pain or aching feelings
- Cramps in the affected area
Repetitive stress injuries develop over time, so it is easy to blame the symptoms on simply getting older. However, your hand weakness or cramping may actually be a sign of a serious injury.
Usually repetitive stress injuries will affect the upper body because of excessive arm, hand, or finger movements, but they can occur in any part of your body. Commonly affected areas include:
Workers’ Compensation and Repetitive Stress Injuries
Many repetitive stress injuries occur while at work. This is because you likely do not engage in this type of repetitive activity outside of your working life. If you think that your injuries may be work-related, then workers’ compensation benefits may be available to you.
One of the trickiest aspects of a repetitive stress injury is diagnosing it or realizing that it is related to your work duties. This could be an issue because Massachusetts has a four-year statute of limitations for work injuries. In most situations, this limitation would begin to run when you are injured.
Thankfully, however, the clock only starts ticking when you realize that your injury may be work-related or you should have realized it. In situations where you “should have” realized it, there is usually some medical evidence that points to your job as the source of your injuries.
Getting Help with Your Work Comp Claim
There are a number of ways that your employer could have worked with you to prevent your repetitive stress injury. If they failed to so, then your work-related injury could be compensable under workers’ compensation. Find out more by calling Jim Glaser Law at 781-679-5300.