Muriel Simpson, a 42-year-old former machine operator, retired through ill-health after contracting the condition at Bowater Scott in Barrow- in-Furness. She will never be able to do manual work again.
The company denied negligence under health and safety legislation, but a high court hearing in Newcastle found it liable. Mrs Simpson suffered severe pains in the arm between 1987 and 1990 when she worked on a machine making toilet paper.
Tom Jones of Thompson solicitors, which acted for Mrs Simpson, described the judgment as a "body blow" for employers who claimed that RSI was all in the mind.
Tony Dubbins, general secretary of the GPMU print and paper-making union, which backed the case, said the company should have carried out a proper assessment of the machine she was operating. "Instead they did nothing, making her condition worse," he said. A TUC poll has found that RSI affects up to 200,000 workers a year, many of whom work on keyboards.Reuse content