Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI)
Every year on the last day of February, UFCW Canada joins workers and other labour groups around the world to recognize RSI Awareness Day. In 2016, RSI day is on February 29.
Repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) are among the most common types of workplace injuryand one in 10 Canadian workers isaffected. The emotional pain that accompanies the physical pain takes a psychological toll not only on the worker, but also on their co-workers, families and loved ones.
Also known as musculoskeletal disorder (MSD), the term repetitive strain injury (RSI) refers to a number of injuries that affect the body’s muscles, nerves, and tendons. Some common RSIs include tendinitis, tenosynovitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome
If you have ever developed a burning, aching pain while repeating the same movement for a long period of time, or shooting pains and weakness in your hands after scanning product, cutting meat, or making beds for example, you've probably experienced the early stages of repetitive stress injury (RSI).
According to Statistics Canada, some two million Canadians suffer from repetitive strain injuries and more than half of these injuries are caused by work related activities. Many members working in UFCW Canada core industries are affected by RSI’s.
If we ignore the symptoms of RSI and they are not treated in time, they can cause a great deal of suffering, and itis important to note that if nothing is done to address the injury or remove its cause, the damage could become permanent.
UFCW Canada is adamant that with adequate resources and training, many of these cases are preventable, which is why governments must adopt effective and enforced ergonomic regulations and workplace training to address RSI issues and prevention.
Despite the massively negative impact of RSIs on workers and the economy, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador are the only provinces in addition to federally regulated workplaces – that have so far recognized the need for regulatory action to address this issue. It is long overdue for other jurisdictions to join in, because the evidence shows that government regulation, enforcement and ergonomic standards can help to prevent RSI/MSD injuries.
The reality is that most repetitive strain injuries are preventable, which is why governments must support effective and enforced ergonomic regulations — which should also require workplace training to address RSI issues and prevention.
To help raise awareness, the UFCW Canada Workplace Rights Committee has made available a series of RSI posters and other related tools and resources. 2016 RSI Awareness Day posters are now available for download in both French and English.
Members, staff, and allies can also access the MSD Prevention Toolbox – which UFCW Canada co-developed with the Ontario Ministry of Labour and other stakeholder groups – via the links provided below.
Courses available through webCampus on this subject: (Click on the webCampus icon to get more information)
Reduce Injuries – Part 1
Reduce Injuries – Part 2
Reduce Injuries – Part 3