Monday, Feb. 28 is International Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Awareness Day. The day is an opportunity to promote awareness of soft tissue injuries and the impact they have on workers. The date is symbolic because Feb. 29 is the only non-repetitive date of the year. In non-leap years, RSI Awareness Day falls on Feb. 28.
Recently, many BC nurses have experienced rapid changes to their work due to the global pandemic, and staffing pressures have made it difficult to complete orientation and training on musculoskeletal injury risks and prevention strategies.
Symptoms of RSI include persistent muscle and soft tissue pain, tingling or numbness, stiffness, and weakness. Examples of RSI are carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis and tendinopathies. RSI risk factors include frequently repeated movements that use the same muscles, and require forceful exertion or awkward postures.
The following tasks, when done repetitively or in high volumes, have risk factors for RSI:
Administering mass immunizations
Dialysis equipment programming
Set-ups, such as opening OR packages
Chemotherapy drug administration via syringe pump
Removing medications from blister packages
Physically moving patients
Opening heavy doors
If you experience symptoms, here's what to do:
Seek First Aid and follow up with your doctor as soon as you can
Report all incidents and near misses using the employee incident reporting process for your worksite
Start a WorkSafeBC claim for medical treatment and/or missed time from work by calling TeleClaim at
1-888-967-5377 or filing online.
Contact your BCNU Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee (JOHSC) representative or BCNU steward to request an ergonomic assessment and to make suggestions for changes in the work environment, tools, equipment and how the work is done.
Prevention is key. You have the right to participate in OHS activities! If you identify a risk of RSI in the workplace, you must report this to your supervisor or manager. Then, send a follow up email to document the discussion and include your BCNU steward and JOHSC representative in the email to keep them informed. Be sure to include suggestions for changes in the work environment, tools, equipment and how the work is done to eliminate, and where elimination is not possible, minimize the risk of RSIs.
BCNU website for more information and resources.
WorkSafeBC Safe Patient Handling GuidePreventing MSIs A Guide for Employers and JOHSC
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