When residents of Massachusetts think of worker's compensation, they envision a very serious or life threatening injury, such as a brain injury or the loss of an arm or leg. Although, worker's compensation was made for just those types of devastating injuries, there are a whole host of other ailments that fall under the umbrella of worker's compensation. Massachusetts residents can file a workers' compensation claim for everything from catching an illness working at a health care facility, mental stress or suffering from a repetitive strain injury.
A repetitive strain injury is a cumulative trauma disorder, which is caused by prolonged and repetitive, forceful or awkward hand movements. The fine hand movements used to perform tasks, such as typing or moving a mouse, can create strain on the muscles and tendons, if repeated enough.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the more common injuries associated with this type of injury but is not the only injury that can occur. Poor posture can create neck and back injuries, just like staring at a computer screen can cause eye strain.
There are many ways a person can develop a repetitive strain injury, but common ones include daily use of a computer for more than 2-4 hours and poor posture when sitting for extended hours. These can be aggravated by illnesses, such as arthritis and diabetes. If left untreated, a repetitive strain injury can affect normal muscle use making it difficult to perform normal tasks, such as writing, driving, making food or even opening a door.
Massachusetts workers' compensation framework allows for recovery in cases where workers can prove they have suffered a repetitive strain injury. The key is usually asking for help.
Source: NHS.uk, "Repetitive strain injury," accessed on Dec. 22, 2014