How Can You Reduce the Incidence and Cost of RSI?

Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs) cost companies billions annually, but even a modest 10% reduction in RSIs can save $700,000 each year. RSIs often result from repetitive movements in various workplace tasks, from typing to lifting. The key to curbing these costs and safeguarding employee well-being lies in ergonomics. Investing in ergonomically designed equipment, like chairs, keyboards, and desks, reduces strain on the body. Promote healthy habits, including regular breaks, exercise, and awareness of RSI symptoms. Protect your employees and your bottom line by making simple changes to combat RSIs.
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Repetitive strain injuries, or RSIs, are some of the most common injuries in the workplace. Estimated to affect 22% of the working population, these injuries can cause immense pain and lead to workers taking time off. RSIs can also cost companies millions of dollars in lost productivity, inefficiency, absenteeism, and workers’ compensation. Reducing the incidence of this kind of injury can reap many benefits for companies, including improving the bottom line. In this article, we will explore strategies for reducing the occurrence of RSI, resulting in reduced costs. Whether you are an employee looking to protect yourself in the workplace or seeking to make broad changes to your organization, learn more about reducing the cost of RSI.

Understanding RSI

Repetitive strain injuries are injuries to tissues, joints, and muscles caused by prolonged repetitive motions. As the workplace becomes more digitized, these injuries are growing in prevalence. Small actions like clicking a mouse, typing, or swiping on touch screens are often associated with these injuries. Poor ergonomics, including inadequate workspace design and poorly positioned equipment, can contribute significantly to the development of RSI. Maintaining awkward postures for extended periods increases the risk of injury. RSI is often associated with tenderness in injured muscles and joints, stiffness, and weakness. More serious cases may manifest with numbness or a “pins and needles” feeling, which suggests nerve compression.

Repetitive strain injuries take a personal toll on employees and a financial toll on organizations. These kinds of injuries result in over 70 million physician office visits every year, increasing healthcare expenditures for employees and employers alike. Additionally, many employees may have to take work off to recover from an RSI, reducing productivity in the workplace and increasing absenteeism. These injuries can also lead to workers’ compensation claims, further impacting the company’s bottom line.

Understanding the nature and cost of RSI displays the need for reducing this kind of injury in the workplace. Organizations can utilize a variety of preventative measures and strategies to foster a healthier and more sustainable approach to modern work practices.

Ergonomics in the Workplace

In 2021, injuries resulting from poor ergonomics resulted in 55% of work-related injuries that required a visit to the emergency room. Ergonomics is the science of designing and arranging workspaces to fit the capabilities and limitations of the human body. This involves assessing the needs of the workplace, making adjustments to procedures, and creating an environment that considers employee comfort and well-being. Studies show that well-designed ergonomic spaces increase productivity by reducing discomfort and allowing employees to focus on their tasks without physical strain.

Organizations can use the principles of ergonomics by analyzing job tasks and workspaces and identifying areas for improvement. Improvements can include utilizing adjustable ergonomic furniture, switching up repetitive tasks, or moving equipment around in a workstation to make it more accessible. The purpose of these changes is to reduce the extra strain put on employees, ultimately reducing the risk of RSI.

Breaks and Stretching Exercises

Many repetitive strain injuries occur from performing repetitive tasks for a prolonged period. Taking regular breaks and using simple stretches can reduce employees’ risk of developing an injury and promote their well-being. Taking short breaks gives the body and mind time to rejuvenate. Studies show that taking breaks can also enhance concentration and productivity, allowing employees to deliver higher-quality work while maintaining their safety. During these breaks, employees can use simple stretches, like neck rotations, shoulder rolls, and wrist stretches, to prevent stiffness and target areas prone to RSI.

To encourage regular breaks, organizations can establish regular break schedules for relaxation and physical activity. Organizations can also use technology and dashboards to remind employees about upcoming breaks and suggest stretching exercises. Incorporating regular breaks and stretching into the workday not only reduces the incidence of RSI but can also improve a company’s bottom line through improved productivity.

Training and Awareness Programs

Comprehensive training and awareness programs can foster an understanding of repetitive strain injuries and how to prevent them. Employees should be educated on the causes and symptoms of RSI, including the potential impact on their overall health and productivity. This knowledge will help employees better understand the prevention methods and help them identify injuries before they become serious. Encourage employees to seek medical attention promptly if they experience the symptoms of RSI, like discomfort, pain, or numbness. This early identification is crucial for minimizing long-term damage and reducing costs associated with these injuries.

Organizations can also host training sessions to demonstrate proper ergonomic principles and allow employees to practice them. These sessions can help employees understand the importance of correct posture, workstation setup, and the use of ergonomic accessories. Organizations can also partner with occupational health professionals to offer employees individualized ergonomic assessments. These assessments can identify and address specific issues in their workstations, tailoring each workstation to the employee’s needs. By investing in training and awareness programs, organizations address the immediate concerns associated with RSI.

Reducing the incidence of RSI through various preventative measures reduces the number of work-related injuries and boosts a company’s bottom line and costs. Implementing these measures improves the overall safety and well-being of employees, contributing to a more productive and resilient workforce.

How Can We Help?

Work Health Solutions offers comprehensive healthcare solutions for your medical needs. Our qualified team treats patients and employers alike and always provides top-quality service. We back our quality service with years of experience. We have worked with academic and research institutions, corporate healthcare, Fortune 25 companies, small governments, and local businesses. Reach out today with any questions about how we can assist you!

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Work Health Solutions

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Work Health Solutions is dedicated to preserving a safe work environment and improving existing programs and care for local, regional and national organizations.

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Dr. Michael Tenison

A series of notable accomplishments distinguish Dr. Michael Tenison’s career in medical operations and healthcare management:

  • Successfully led medical operations at a national healthcare provider, focusing on optimizing healthcare delivery and patient outcomes.
  • Oversaw the regional medical practices in key markets like Oregon and Northern California, ensuring consistent, quality medical care and service delivery.
  • Demonstrated exceptional leadership in building and mentoring a large medical provider team, enhancing team performance and patient care standards.
  • Implemented strategic company policies and protocols, significantly improving center efficiency, clinical quality, and patient experiences.
  • Played a pivotal role in financial planning and identifying growth opportunities for healthcare services, contributing to the organization’s overall success.
  • Served as a primary point of contact for regional employer clients and insurance companies, fostering strong relationships and effective communication.
  • Maintained high medical care and case management standards through diligent supervision, chart audits, and performance metric analysis.

Dr. Matt Feeley

Dr. Matt Feeley is a renowned figure in military aviation medicine, with a robust background in occupational and environmental medicine from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 

  • Former Naval Flight Surgeon, exemplifying his expertise in aerospace medicine and commitment to military health.
  • Served with distinction at NSA Bahrain and HSM-37, earning the COMPACFLT Flight Surgeon of the Year award for exceptional medical service.
  • Supported U.S. Marines VMFA-323 aboard the USS Nimitz, MACG-38, and VMU-3, demonstrating versatility and leadership in diverse medical environments.
  • Broad interests and significant contributions in global health, corporate medicine, and aerospace medicine, highlighting his multidisciplinary approach.
  • Proven track record as a dynamic leader, well-equipped to face the challenges in a fractional medical directorship role with innovative solutions.

Dr. Glen Cheng

A physician-attorney with a dedication to healthcare innovation, informatics, and digital health.

  • Currently spearheads employee health protection and promotion within the VA Pittsburgh Health Care System.
  • Trained in residency at Harvard, achieving board certification as a physician; also a licensed patent attorney with experience as FDA regulatory counsel.
  • Co-founded Acceleromics, a consulting firm providing clinical and regulatory guidance to digital health startups.

Erin Davis

 Chief Clinical Officer at Work Health Solutions, certified in Adult-Gerontology (AGNP-C) and Athletic Training (ATC).

  • Oversees clinical operations and ensures high clinical standards across the company’s national field staff.
  • Former Manager of Clinic Operations and Occupational Health Nurse Practitioner at Stanford University Occupational Health Center (SUOHC).
  • Specialized in treating occupational injuries and illnesses, and provided medical surveillance and travel medicine consults at Stanford and SLAC National Accelerator Lab.
  • Dedicated to sports and occupational injury treatment and prevention.
  • Assistant Clinical Faculty at UCSF, mentoring students in clinical rotations within the Adult Gerontology and Occupational and Environmental Health Program.
  • Holds leadership roles as Treasurer and President Elect of the California El Camino Real Association of Occupational Health Nurses (CECRAOHN), affiliated with the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN).

Dr. Robert Goldsmith

Expert in benefits design and onsite innovation with specialization in the pharmaceutical industry.

  • Previous role as Executive Director for Employee Health at Novartis Services, Inc., leading health services and clinical support.
  • Instrumental in creating an integrated healthcare system at Novartis.
  • Former private practice in internal medicine in Stamford, Connecticut, and Medical Director consultant for GTE Corporation.
  • Transitioned to GE as a Global Medical Director in 2000.
  • Holds a medical degree from Albert Einstein College, an MPH from the University of Connecticut, and completed training at Greenwich Hospital and Yale-New Haven Medical Center.
  • Assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at the Vagelos School of Medicine, Columbia University.
  • Serves as a team physician for high school athletes in Stamford.
  • Published works on occupational health risks, primary prevention, and exercise-induced asthma.