This year, International Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Awareness Day lands on February 29 and CUPE Ontario continues to call on measures which support workers confronted by this common yet preventable condition.
RSIs, also known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), are a collection of ailments affecting the tendons, muscles, and nerves and joints in the neck, back, chest, shoulders, arms, and hands. These injuries are caused by repetition and by overuse, excessive strain, uncomfortable positioning of limbs, and more. It’s so widespread that, according to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), more than 40 per-cent of injuries causing time off work are due to RSI and MSDs.
CUPE Ontario emphasizes that these injuries – caused by overuse – are more likely when governments impose austerity measures, which cause hiring freezes and layoffs. Workloads are increasing because of the Ford government’s job-killing plans, making RSIs and WSDs more prevalent than ever, and with layoffs, injured workers are losing their benefits, meaning they can’t afford the treatment they need to recover.
This province’s workers deserve better than to experience chronic and very preventable injuries. We need more support in the workplace; with decent work, we can more effectively provide the services Ontarians rely on.
This is the time to continue to raise awareness and ensure the solutions we need become a reality. We encourage members to review CUPE’s fact sheet and to share it with co-workers and community members. We also encourage members to take a close look at the MSD Prevention website.