For many blue collar workers, every day involves the same kind of physical exertion. Maybe you work in production or assembly, so you spend all day on your feet, moving your hands rapidly. Perhaps you drive a forklift or a hi-lo, putting strain on your forearms, wrists and hands for your entire shift. Whatever your task at work, if there aren't substantial work variations and ergonomic accommodations in place to protect your body, you could be at risk of injury.
It is incredibly common for those who work in factories or other blue collar jobs to perform the same task over and over. Unfortunately, that kind of repetitive work can result in damage to your body, ranging from soft tissue problems to joint or bone damage and even nerve damage. The resulting conditions, called repetitive stress injuries, can have a long-term impact on your ability to continue performing your job.
Repetitive stress conditions slowly develop over time
When you force your body, limbs or extremities to perform the same task over and over, it can result in a lot of wear and tear on your body. Muscles, tendons, joints, connective tissue and even bones can incur damage when used repetitively over many months or years.
Repetitive stress injuries, also called repetitive motion injuries, can limit your range of motion, strength and ability to work. They can also cause substantial pain, impacting your quality of life. Several different kinds of medical conditions qualify as repetitive stress injuries, including tendinitis and bursitis.
Tendinitis is essentially inflammation of a tendon, which connects muscle to bone and allows you to move your joints. Bursitis, on the other hand, impacts a bursa, which is a small pouch of tissue that helps facilitate painless motion by offering lubrication or cushioning. When the bursa sac becomes inflamed, bursitis is the result.
Injured workers deserve workers' compensation benefits to offset losses
Although repetitive stress injuries aren't as dramatic or visible as traumatic injuries from a workplace accident, they are still serious medical issues. In fact, many workers with repetitive stress injuries may not be able to return to the same function at work, even after medical treatment and physical therapy. Thankfully, workers compensation in Minnesota covers acquired injuries as well as accident-related injuries.
Sometimes, repetitive stress injuries are minor. Workers may be able to continue working so long as certain accommodations, like regular breaks or even a stool or chair, are available. Other times, however, the range of motion and strength of the affected limb or extremity will never return to where it was before the injury presented.
Workers may need both medical coverage from workers' compensation, as well as lost wage replacement in cases of temporary or permanent disability as a result of repetitive stress.