Which workers are most likely to report RSIs?

Group most likely to report this injury shifted in 2020 and 2021

Which workers are most likely to report RSIs?

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) in Ontario is reminding employers that repetitive strain injury (RSI) is still common in the workplace.

Since 2015, RSI claims have made up roughly 30 per cent of all lost-time claims reported to the WSIB, it said.

On average, men and people in the 50-54 age group have reported most RSI claims. However in 2020 and 2021, we saw a shift with people aged 25-29 reporting the highest percentage of these claims compared to any other age group.

Industries with the highest number of RSI claims include manufacturing, retail, Schedule 2 and non-hospital healthcare.

Since 2015, roughly 80 per cent of all RSI claims reported sprains as the type of injury, followed by tendonitis and hernias, according to the agency. Most affected body parts include back, shoulders, knees and ankles.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) also reminded employers to raise awareness and promote the prevention of RSIs.

“RSIs can happen to a variety of workers from all types of industries. Gripping, holding, bending, twisting, clenching, and reaching - these ordinary movements that we naturally make every day are not particularly harmful in the activities of our daily lives,” said CCOHS.

“What makes them hazardous in work situations is the continual repetition of the movements. Other contributing work factors can include awkward postures and fixed body positions, excessive force concentrated on small parts of the body such as the hand or wrist, a fast pace of work with insufficient breaks or recovery time, and psychosocial factors such as stress.”

But while RSIs have continued to be one of the top claim types reported to the WSIB, “they also contain some of the most preventative injuries,” according to WSIB.

Recently, in time with the International RSI Awareness Day, WSIB created a short video to help raise awareness and increase prevention efforts for RSIs.

The video shares some of the above data highlights and provides tips for how to prevent ergonomic-related RSIs, often resulting from working at a desk and/or sitting too long. The video is available here.

Previously, COS spoke with Mathew MacLeod, an occupational health and safety specialist at CCOHS to learn more about RSI.

“Employers, workers, and health and safety committees really need to work together to identify high-risk jobs or tasks and implement appropriate control measures to try to eliminate [or] reduce the risk of an injury,” said MacLeod.

RSI Awareness Day falls on Feb. 28 each year, or Feb. 29 in a leap year.