TORONTO, ON – On February 28, International Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Awareness day, once again CUPE Ontario is calling on the provincial government to act on our recommendations to protect workers from painful and often debilitating injuries that are most often caused by overworking specific parts of the body. This year more than ever, we must recognize these types of injuries because the Ford Conservatives are determined to institute wide ranging cut backs and restructuring that will result in many more Ontarians working harder for less money.

RSIs, also known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), describe a collection of painful disorders of the tendons, muscles, nerves and joints in the neck, back, chest, shoulders, arms and hands. According to the WSIB, more than 40 per cent of all lost-time injuries are RSI’s or MSDs. These injuries are caused by repetition and by force, rapid movement, overuse, static loading, excessive strain, uncomfortable positioning of limbs or holding an unnatural posture for too long.

These types of injuries multiply as workers are faced with hiring freezes, layoffs, and various other austerity measures. Doug Fords budget cuts and job killing plans for restructuring means that work will become harder, workloads greater and the risk of injury increases.

As well, with Conservative lay-offs, many injured workers lose their benefits, and can’t afford the physiotherapy that is required to recover from RSIs.  This can cause additional hardship as families are faced with the choice of living with chronic pain, or taking medications that are often addictive and mood altering

CUPE Ontario is fighting everyday to improve the health and safety of Ontarians.  Workers should not have to choose between supporting their family and living for years with pain and suffering. That’s why the action that CUPE Ontario is taking to protect people from RSI’s is so important.

But members have a role to play as well. We are all in this fight together, and CUPE Ontario will continue to demand solutions, raise awareness, and prevent occupational injuries that leave workers unable to care for themselves or their families. That’s why on this important day of awareness, you are encouraged to download CUPE’s RSI Fact Sheet to see if you are at risk for an RSI or MSD, and by sharing it with your employers, fellow workers, friends and family, we can continue to watch out for each other.

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