Rising tide of RSI complaints

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The Independent Online
An epidemic of repetitive strain injury is affecting a wide range of occupations, a leading expert said yesterday.

Dr Annelee Yassi of the University of Manitoba, Canada, said there was now abundant evidence to refute claims that RSI cases have appeared to increase only because of feigned complaints. She argued that a number of changes in the workplace may be contributing to the rise.

These included the adoption of manufacturing techniques requiring workers to repeat the same task throughout the day. Another was growing pressure from global competition, which was forcing workers to do their jobs ever faster. She acknowledged that part of the increase was caused by workers being better educated and less willing to suffer in silence.

Dr Yassi, writing in the Lancet medical journal said: "Hundreds of occupational groups are at risk, in industries that include construction, forestry, mining, garment and product manufacturing, meat processing, health care, retail, clerical work, and performing arts." She added that the best way to treat RSI was to rest the affected part and protect it from further harm.