Toronto – February 23, 2015 – On February 28, UFCW Canada will join workers and other labour groups around the world to recognize Repetitive Strain Injury Awareness Day. Health and safety activists initiated the annual day of awareness in 2000 to help bring attention to an occupational hazard that affects thousands of people in many different sectors of the economy.
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.
One in 10 Canadian workers is afflicted with some form of RSI and, besides the emotional strain that these injuries can have on affected workers and their families, the cost of dealing with RSIs exceeds $26 billion – or 3 percent of Canada's gross domestic product (GDP) – every year. In Ontario alone, more than 40% 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 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 is making available a series of RSI posters and other related tools and resources. UFCW Canada's 2015 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 on this page.
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