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Ontario's Union for fairness, equality and respect at work.

February 28 is Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Day.

RSIs, which are also known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), are the most common form of workplace injuries, affecting 2.3 million Canadians and costing the economy $26 billion every year.

Lifting, bending, pushing, stretching and pulling are common types of movements that can lead to RSIs. These include lower back injuries, carpel tunnel syndrome, golfer/tennis elbow, tendinitis and much more.

These injuries to our muscles, joints, nerves and tendons have a huge impact on workers, resulting in more than 40 per cent of all lost-time claims and more than 45 per cent of all lost-time days. Depending on their severity, they can be life changing, affecting a worker’s mobility and ability to work as they once did.

Learning about risks, prevention and early treatment is very important so the discomfort you initially experience does not progress into something more chronic.

If you are experiencing discomfort from any of your work tasks, here are the steps you can take:

- Notify your supervisor about the discomfort or pain you are experiencing while performing your work duties. Under law, all employers are required to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker. They are required to provide a safe workplace.

- Notify a member of your workplace’s Joint Health and Safety Committee.

- Contact your union representative if you need assistance. 

- Let a co-worker know.

- Most importantly, visit a doctor as soon as possible and ensure they are able to fill out a Form 8. Documentation is essential for any WSIB claims which may be filed later.

If you have any questions about RSIs, please read the health and safety section on our website or contact Health and Safety Representative Rick Young. We are here to help. 


*Statistical information courtesy of the Workers' Health and Safety Centre and the Ontario Ministry of Labour.

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