Toronto – February 22, 2016 – On February 29, UFCW Canada will join workers and labour allies around the world in recognizing Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Awareness Day. RSI Awareness Day originated sixteen years ago in order to bring attention to an occupational hazard that affects thousands of people in just about every sector of the economy.
The term repetitive strain injury refers to a number of injuries that affect the body's muscles, nerves, and tendons. It can also refer to a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD). Some common forms of RSI include tendinitis, tenosynovitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Statistics show that one out of ten Canadian workers is affected by some form of RSI. Besides the emotional strain that these injuries can have on the affected workers, the cost of dealing with RSIs is estimated to be $26 billion annually. In Ontario alone, more than 40 percent of all lost-time claims are linked to RSI.
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 recognized the need for regulatory action to address this issue. It is time for other jurisdictions to follow the lead of these provinces, as evidence shows that government regulation, enforcement, and ergonomic standards can help prevent RSI and MSD injuries.
The majority of repetitive strain injuries are preventable. That is why government must support effective ergonomic regulations, as well as workplace training aimed at preventing and addressing RSI issues.