Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
|RSI Awareness Day Poster|
Every year, Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Awareness Day takes place on the last day of February, the only “non repetitive” day of the year. As part of RSI Day, UFCW Canada joins workers and other labour groups worldwide to help raise awareness of the need for preventative action towards repetitive strain injuries.
RSIs are among the most common workplace injuries and affect 1 in 10 Canadian workers. The emotional pain that accompanies the physical pain of these injures can take a psychological toll not only on the worker, but also on their families and co-workers.
What is an RSI?
RSI refers to several injuries that affect the body’s muscles, nerves, and tendons. If you have ever developed a burning, aching pain while repeating the same movement for a long period of time, or shooting pains and weakness in your hands after scanning product, cutting meat, or making beds for example, you've probably experienced the early stages of repetitive strain injury.
If we ignore the symptoms of RSI and they are not treated in time, they can cause a great deal of suffering, and if nothing is done to address the injury or remove its cause, the damage could become permanent.
Resources on RSIs tend to focus on the impacts of physical workloads on the body, but we can’t ignore the impact that negative workplace psychosocial factors have as well. Studies find that workplace-related and personal mental health issues are associated with the excessive and prolonged inflammation of repetitive strain injuries and can serve as an obstacle to recovery.
What is psychosocial health?
- Psychosocial health describes the interrelation of social, cultural, and workplace environmental influences on the individual and group’s mind and behaviour.
What is psychological health?
- Psychological health is related to the mental and emotional state of a person.
A mentally unhealthy workplace can increase the probability that an individual will experience increased stress, which can lead to the development or worsening of mental or physical health conditions, including the onset and prolonged recovery time of RSIs.
With adequate resources and training, many of these cases are preventable, which is why governments must adopt effective and enforced ergonomic regulations, as well as workplace training that includes the promotion of psychologically healthy and safe workplaces, to address RSI issues and prevention.
The UFCW Canada Workplace Rights Committee has made available an RSI poster and other related tools and resources for RSIs. The RSI Awareness Day poster is now available for download in both French and English.