Employers have a legal responsibility to protect their employees from harm. If staff members are at risk of sustaining repetitive strain injuries (RSI) within your workplace, it is crucial that you put adequate measures in place in order to prevent any damage to their health.
Find out everything you need to know about the injury and your responsibilities as an employer, so that you can create a happy, healthy workplace while protecting your business against claims.
First things first – you must understand what RSI is
Jobs in many different industries involve repeating the same or similar tasks throughout a shift, which can lead to employees developing repetitive strain injuries (RSI).
Anything from typing or clicking a mouse all day, constantly replenishing stock or working in an assembly line can result in RSI symptoms such as pain, aching, swelling and the loss of feeling in hands, arms, shoulders, the neck or the back.
How do employees fall victim to RSI?
RSI can often develop in employees who are not adequately protected against occupational hazards.
There are certain workplace factors that can increase the risk of RSI, such as cold temperatures and inadequate working stations. Expecting employees to work long hours or conduct high intensity tasks without providing regular breaks and a comfortable place to rest can also result in injuries.
Your legal obligations as an employer
As an employer, you are required to do everything in your power to prevent the onset of work-related RSI.
Conducting a risk assessment and evaluating potential dangers is the first step you should take, to rule out as many dangers and hazards as possible. Read through the HSE’s guide to workplace ergonomics to better understand what constitutes a safe working environment so that you can make the necessary changes to reduce the likelihood of RSI occurring amongst your employees.
Making sure that employees have a comfortable place in which to relax during breaks is also important. If time permits, look to offer an extra half an hour throughout the day to staff members, so that they can take a break from repetitive activities.
Providing employees with training on RSI, its symptoms and how to remain protected from harm can also help to make sure that workers understand their responsibilities and the measures you have in place to minimise the risk. Training can also help employees to identify RSI should they ever sustain the injury so that they are encouraged to raise the issue with you.
Should an unfortunate circumstance arise where an employee does become injured, you must provide support to ensure their RSI does not become worse. You should assess their daily activities and take steps to change or put a stop to any tasks that could cause further damage. Any pain or injury should also be recorded in a workplace accident book, which could be used as evidence should a case be made against you in the future.
Reap the rewards
By making simple changes to your employees’ working environment in order to minimise the risk of RSI, your business can benefit from happier and healthier staff members, reduced sick days and increased protection against possible compensation claims.
Rachel Campbell is a content writer for Sheldon Davidson, a leading personal injury solicitors firm based in Manchester, who can offer advice and action concerning accidents at work.