Repetitive motion injuries could have long-term consequences
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Repetitive motion injuries could have long-term consequences

| Mar 31, 2021 | Workers compensation

Administrative workers in California might not face life-threatening injuries, but they certainly face risks that could leave them with chronic pain if they do not take precautions. If you work in a position that requires hours of working on a computer, your workstation might pose risks of repetitive motion injuries. Using the hands and arms for hours on end, often at awkward angles, puts excessive stress on specific muscles. 

If your employer provides ergonomically designed workstations, RMI risks will be lower but still present. The following ergonomic features are necessary to help keep you safe. 

Body position 

When you work on your computer, the following angles are essential: 

  • When at your desk, you should center your head above the spine, with a straight neck. 
  • The curve of your spine should be normal. 
  • Your bent arms should be at an angle of approximately 90 degrees, with your hands and arms in a straight position. 
  • If you cannot comfortably put your feet flat on the floor, use a footrest. 

The following adjustable equipment can reduce RMI injury risks 

Ergonomic means the workstation’s design suits the person who uses it, with many adjustable parts or extras to prevent undue muscular strain. 

  • Equipment to lower or raise your desk, chair and computer screen to a comfortable position. 
  • Your computer screen’s top must be slightly below or at eye level to view without straining your neck. 
  • A document holder at the same level as the computer screen will avoid looking up and down from the papers to the screen. 

Other equipment to prevent strain on your lower back, neck and arms includes footrests, back supports, wrist rests and telephone headsets. 

Additional precautions 

You can do a lot more to avoid RMIs. Keep your shoulders, arms and hands relaxed, and take frequent breaks to stretch those muscles. Furthermore, note that using force increases the risks of muscle strain. Make a point of using a light touch when you type. It is also a good idea to vary your tasks to prevent excessive use of specific muscles. It will give body parts time to rest and repair. 

Repetitive motion injuries can be treated in the early stages, but leaving them too long might require surgery. Therefore, report any discomfort or pain to your employer as soon as you become aware of it. The California workers’ compensation insurance system covers these types of injuries. The benefits typically cover medical expenses and lost wages during a temporary disability period.