Computers, Blackberries, iPads: New Technology and Repetitive Stress

In the age of computers, more and more workers are leaving jobs involving heavy labor and relying on technology to perform their jobs. Sitting at desk tops, hunched over iPads and Blackberries, today’s workforce faces a number of different chronic and repetitive stress injuries than earlier generations. For many workers, cramped wrists, sore necks and back pain are part of desk jobs and office work. When does a work-related injury over time give rise to workers’ compensation claim?

Repetitive stress injuries are becoming increasingly common, especially for desk-job employees who spend their entire work day at a computer. Our Greensboro workers’ compensation attorneys are experienced in handling a range of claims and understand the pain and frustration faced by workers with repetitive stress injuries. Every case is unique so it is important to have your case and claim reviewed by an experienced workers compensation attorney.

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OSHA is well-aware of how repetitive stress can impact the lives of American workers. The agency reports that repetitive stress injuries are the fasted growing of workplace injuries and involve more than 100 different job-induced injuries involving overuse and wear and tear of the body. Even though repetitive stress injuries can be difficult to prove, they can severely limit the ability of an employee to continue working and to manage day to day tasks. In some cases, repetitive stress injuries completely destroy the workers’ ability to continue with job performance.

Repetitive stress injuries may involve factory or line work, but a number of new claims involve the use of computers, and other technology, including iPads and hand-held devices. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, repetitive stress injuries account for one in four injuries requiring time-off.

Workers who experience a tingling or minor pain in the joints should be wary. What starts as a small pain could result in serious damage and permanent injury, requiring surgery or causing a permanent disability. Research indicates that women may be more susceptible to these injuries than men because keyboards, computer mice and chairs are generally designed for men.

Treating a repetitive stress injury can be daunting and expensive. You may be looking at surgery and recovery that costs tens of thousands of dollars. In the most severe cases, you may not be able to return to your job. If you work at a computer, you should keep your monitor at eye level to prevent neck and back injury. If you use a phone, use a headset so you are not bending your neck. Periodic stretching at your desk can also be beneficial.

Smaller tablets can create additional risks including what ergonomists have deemed “iPad neck.” Research shows that staring at smaller devices for longer periods of time can actually be more dangerous and damaging to the back and neck.

To prevent repetitive stress injuries workers and employers should be aware of the risks. Proper equipment can reduce the possibility of injury. Ergonomics (the science of creating tools, furniture, and other products to meet the needs of a human body) is critical when designing chairs and other equipment that is used daily on the job. Proper equipment and protective gear can prevent repetitive stress injury over time.

If you or someone you love has suffered a work-related injury in North or South Carolina, contact the Lee Law Offices at 1-800-887-1965 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case.

More Blog Entries:

General Worker Health: Managing Pain Prescriptions, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, June 30, 2013

Occupational Hearing Loss and Workers’ Compensation, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, June 10, 2013

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