International RSI Awareness Day Reminds Nurses About the Importance of Workplace Injury Prevention

February 24, 2023
Repetitive strain injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis and epicondylitis can stop members from working

Tuesday, 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. This year, RSI Day falls on Feb. 28. However the official date is Feb. 29, the only non-repetitive date of the year, occurring in leap years, and the ideal date to promote awareness of repetitive strain injuries.

For many BC nurses, staffing and workload pressures have made it difficult to complete orientation and training on musculoskeletal injury risks and prevention strategies.

RSI symptoms include persistent muscle and soft tissue pain, tingling or numbness, stiffness, and weakness. Examples of an 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
  • Pill crushing
  • Dialysis equipment programming
  • Set-ups, such as opening OR packages
  • Chemotherapy drug administration via syringe pump
  • Data entry
  • Removing medications from blister packages
  • Physically moving patients

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 (JOHS) Committee 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 an 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 JOHS Committee 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 minimize the risk of RSIs or eliminate them altogether.

Visit the BCNU website for more information and resources.

WorkSafeBC Resources:

WorkSafeBC Safe Patient Handling Guide

Preventing MSI: A Guide for Employers and JOHSC

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