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Repetitive strain injuries at all-time high, research finds

5 June 2008

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Work-related repetitive strain injury (RSI) cases are at an all-time high and the cost to businesses is spiralling, according to research from Microsoft.

According to the corporation’s figures, RSI cases have soared by more than 30% in the last year, costing businesses more than £300m in lost working hours.

The research, which polled more than 1,000 office workers, HR managers and office managers, reveals that 68% of office workers suffered from aches and pains, with the most common symptoms including back ache, shoulder pain and wrist/hand pain.

The research found that those working for smaller companies are most at risk.

The findings also show that nearly a third of office staff suffering from RSI did not associate this with anything work-related and did not report anything to their management.

Of all HR managers surveyed, 76% were unaware of the high risk of RSI themselves, and 68% did nothing when employees reported problems.

John Allen, Managing Consultant at The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), believes there is much more employers can do to minimise the risk.

“We are shocked that this research indicates that the number of office injuries is on the increase due to companies not taking the right actions in investing in their staff’s wellbeing”, he said.

Experts recommend a number of ergonomic solutions for workers, including an articulating keyboard, monitor arms, footrests, ergonomic mice, laptop holders and ergonomic chairs.

Mr Allen said: “This issue needs to be addressed and companies should start assessing the risks and investing in ergonomic solutions where they are needed.”