Getting repetitive stress injuries under control

Labour calls on feds to change hazard prevention regulations to reduce $26-billion price tag

More than two million Canadian adults reported repetitive strain injuries severe enough to limit their normal activities, according to a recent Statistics Canada survey, and most of these injuries were caused on the job.

"Canadian workers are suffering from repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) in epidemic proportions," says Marie Clarke Walker, executive vice-president of the Canadian Labour Congress, which represents over three million workers across the country. "RSIs impact workers, their families and the economy. We cannot ignore such a debilitating yet preventable workplace hazard any longer.”

RSI is a term for a range of injuries that affect the muscles, nerves and tendons. Unchecked, symptoms that include aches, pains, tingling, swelling and loss of joint movement, can lead to crippling disorders that make work impossible.

The economic costs of these injuries, an estimated $26-billion each year, are staggering. Much of the cost is paid for by taxpayers in the form of health care and income assistance.

As today is the internationally-recognized RSI Awareness Day, the congress is calling on the new Conservative government to follow through on the Liberals’ promise to introduce changes to the current federal Hazard Prevention Regulations.

"British Columbia and Saskatchewan already have regulations. Keeping the promise to bring in new rules at the federal level will encourage other provincial and territorial governments to act so people no longer have to work and live with preventable pain and suffering," says Clarke Walker.

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