If you employ others in an office setting, you probably never assume you will lose an employee due to them just performing their job duties. Unfortunately, repetitive stress injuries (RSI) are precisely that. If you want to
- Protect your employees
- Preserve your workers' comp premium
- Avoid downtime
you need to actively learn about and promote the kind of work habits that can help prevent RSI injuries.
What are RSI Injuries?
"Repetitive stress injury" is really an umbrella term for a whole host of physical injuries. What these injuries have in common is that they develop from repeated use of the same muscles repeatedly. That's why you'll often hear these types of injuries called "cumulative trauma." In an office environment, this can occur from typing, poor seating, even the constant use of a computer mouse.
These injuries can make themselves known through various types of aches and pains. However, many of them go by well-known names. For example:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
As an employer, you have both a legal and ethical duty to make sure your employees are safe from things that can cause them harm while on the job. This is why you provide healthcare and why you must have workers' compensation insurance.
You should do everything you can to help your employees stay fit enough to perform their job duties. Otherwise, you're looking at several undesirable outcomes you could have avoided.
The Real Cost of an Injured Employee
People who suffer from RSI injuries have varying degrees of success with healing. You could lose an employee for a brief time, or the injury can render the employee unable to perform job duties for a lifetime. But losing an employee for any amount of time comes with direct and indirect costs.
Direct costs – These include taking care of the employee's injury and ongoing medical costs for that injury. In some RSI cases, this means a lifetime of medical care.
Indirect costs – These can include a number of things from paying those that need to process the claim to paying wages to an employee that's not there working.
In addition, your workers' comp insurance premium will rise. So what can you do?
Education, Prevention, and Your Workers' Comp Insurer
Educate your employees. Find safety training for both you and those that work for you. In an office environment some of the leading causes of RSI are poor posture, inadequate amounts of breaks, and no ready access to occupational therapy. Encourage your employees to seek medical attention at the first sign of any RSI symptoms.
Speak with your workers' compensation insurer about programs that can help you educate yourself and your employees. They have a stake in making sure that you're doing everything you can to keep your employees free of work related injury. To that end, they often sponsor such programs.
For more information about workers' compensation insurance, visit websites like http://www.collinginsurance.com/.