Injuries and RSI

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Injuries from Poor Manual Handling and Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Misuse

Other Injuries from Poor Manual Handling

Expanding the Scope of Manual Handling Injuries

Back injuries are not the sole consequence of poor manual handling. Other body parts can also be affected. The most common additional injuries include those to the fingers, thumbs, arms, hands, and wrists.

Work-Related Upper Limb Disorders (WRULDs)

Conditions Affecting the Upper Limbs

Work-Related Upper Limb Disorders (WRULDs) encompass a group of conditions impacting the upper limbs. These disorders are often caused by repetitive motions (RSIs), prolonged actions, significant force application, or unnatural postures like twisting and reaching. Certain individuals, such as vulnerable adults, pregnant staff, and those with preexisting medical conditions, face a higher risk of developing work-related upper limb disorders. Manual handling activities, including pushing, pulling, and lifting, can contribute to these disorders, which can affect various occupations, from office workers to construction site personnel and factory workers.

Symptoms and Progression of WRULDs

Chronic Conditions with Progressive Symptoms

Work-related upper limb disorders typically manifest as chronic conditions that worsen over time. If an activity is repeated before sufficient healing time, permanent damage is unlikely. However, continuous repetition without ample healing time will lead to the progressive deterioration of the injury. Common symptoms of WRULDs include back, neck, and shoulder pain; swollen joints and muscles; fatigue accompanied by tingling or soft tissue swelling; and restricted joint movement. Wrists are particularly susceptible to these disorders, and ignoring them can result in permanent injury. Poor manual handling techniques can also cause injuries in the lower limbs and other parts of the torso.

Types of Injuries from Poor Manual Handling

Various Forms of Strains, Sprains, and Superficial Injuries

Poor manual handling can lead to a range of injuries, including strains, sprains, lacerations, bruises, and fractures:

  • Strains and Sprains: Account for nearly 70% of reported manual handling injuries, with sprains affecting ligaments and strains affecting muscles
  • Lacerations and Bruising: Caused by exposure to unprotected sharp edges and corners
  • Fractures: Commonly occurring in the feet due to heavy loads, as well as from bone crushing or severe falls

Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Misuse and Risks

Issues Related to Improper DSE Usage

Incorrect use of Display Screen Equipment (DSE) can lead to numerous injuries and illnesses. Regulations for DSE are outlined in the Health and Safety Display Screen Equipment Regulations 1992. Users of DSE, defined as individuals who utilize this equipment for over one continuous hour per day, are entitled to free eye tests and glasses. The regulations require risk assessments of workstations, encompassing factors such as lighting, temperature, noise, workspace, chairs, desks, footrests, document holders, screens, keyboards, software, and potential trip and electrical hazards from cables. Adequate training and information should also be provided to all DSE users.