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The three most common causes of repetitive stress injuries

The first time doesn't hurt.

Neither does the second, the fifteenth or the one hundredth time. But after repeating the same motion several thousand times, the human body often begins to feel the wear and tear. In fact, repetitive motion or repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) account for myriad work-related injuries every year. Sometimes the damage is so severe that the employee is no longer able to perform his or her job at all.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists the three most common causes of RSIs:

  1. Assembly line work — As assembly lines become more and more automated, the role of human workers becomes more limited. An employee may only be required to perform one easy task, but he or she must perform that task over and over, all day, every day. Technology has also increased the pace of many assembly lines, forcing employees to perform the same repetitive motions far more often than before.
  2. Constant typing — Employees who spend the majority of their time using a computer mouse or keyboard often suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome and other types of RSIs. Such injuries may require intensive physical and occupational therapy to counteract the damage caused to hands, wrists and arms.
  3. Lifting — Repetitive lifting, particularly of heavy objects, can result in everything from minor muscle strain to serious and irreparable back injuries. Many warehouse workers and delivery truck personnel suffer these RSIs.

If you suffered a repetitive stress injury while working in Maryland, a workers' compensation lawyer can advise you of your rights and options.

Source:, “Preventing repetitive stress injuries,” U.S. Department of Labor, Dec. 10, 1996

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