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Government “must do more to reduce RSI at work”

23 February 2009

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The government needs to do more to tackle repetitive strain injuries (RSI) in the workplace, according to a medical group.

Official figures show that 213,000 people had a musculoskelatal upper limb or neck disorder caused or made worse by work last year, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) said.

The society, which represents 48,000 physiotherapists, said that more than 80,000 were new cases – similar to the 2001/02 number.

The figures suggest that employers need to do more to prevent their staff developing an RSI condition, a problem which costs companies £300m a year in sick pay and lost productivity, according to the society.

Its report said that few employers offered staff access to occupational health services even though RSI was a significant concern for workers.

CSP spokeswoman Pauline Cole said: “There is a clear opportunity for employers to do more to provide occupational health services, both with regard to prevention of RSI and rehabilitation.

“The CSP is calling on the government to both encourage and enforce measures to address this with legislation, combined with incentives and best-practice guidance. We may then, after the frustration of many years of no progress, begin to see some reduction in the rates of this almost completely preventable condition.”

She said that more needed to be done to prevent the condition from developing in the first place.

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Chartered Society of Physiotherapy