How to Claim Compensation for Repetitive Strain Injury
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is a term used to describe damage to the upper limbs which is often due to repetitive actions in the workplace. Repetitive Strain Injuries often affect the hand, wrist, elbow and the shoulder.
Employers are legally required to provide employees with a safe working environment, so if your employer didn’t do enough to prevent you developing RSI, you may be entitled to compensation.
Do I Have a Claim?
In order to show that your employer or a third party was at fault, you need to demonstrate that they should reasonably have foreseen that there was a risk of sustaining a Repetitive Strain Injury as a result of your work.
You must also show that there were steps your employer could have taken to either minimise or avoid the risk of that injury occurring, and that their failure to do so caused your RSI.
Can I Win?
Every RSI claim is assessed on an individual basis, so before saying if you have a chance of success, our Industrial Disease Solicitors would need to investigate your job thoroughly and look at the physical demands created by it. This would include:
- Force, posture and movement
- How many times the task is carried out on each shift, i.e. how repetitive is the job?
- Length of time each tasks takes to complete
- Length of rest periods
- What pressures are placed on you by your employer to meet targets
- What equipment is used
- Any recent changes in the system of work
- Whether other employees have been affected by RSI
The last factor is particularly important, because if you’re the only person experiencing the symptoms of RSI in your workplace and there are other people doing a similar task to yourself then this might suggest that the cause isn’t work related. We might therefore seek to find out if any of your colleagues are also displaying symptoms of RSI and use them as witnesses.
Another indication that your RSI condition may be work related may be that your RSI symptoms started within a few weeks or months of starting the job and ease or stop when you’re not at work.
Furthermore, if you or any other employees have made prior complaints about their working practices and environment before you developed any RSI symptoms, this could be evidence that the employer should have been aware of the risks in the workplace, but chose not to act upon them.
Every company should carry out proper risk assessments of the working conditions for all members of staff before work starts.
People performing highly repetitive jobs, for example where a hand or arm movement is repeated a number of times each minute, are susceptible to RSI. Also, people working in largely desk-based jobs may also be susceptible to RSI. Employers must ensure that the job is assessed and that desks and chairs are of the right height, position and quality, so employees can be as comfortable as possible over the many hours they spend sitting at work.
Ensuring employees spend sufficient time away from their desks should be another priority for employers. Keeping you at your workstation for hours on end with no respite break is not only potentially bad for you, but ultimately unproductive for your employer.
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