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Technology takes aim at repetitive stress injuries

On Behalf of | Jan 4, 2017 | Workers' Compensation

Ohio residents who work in manufacturing sometimes develop stress injuries from repeating motions over and over again while performing their jobs. These injuries may be debilitating, causing damage to people’s wrists, hands, joints, muscles and tissues. They may leave people requiring surgery and unable to return to their former jobs.

Employers are required to keep their working environments safe for their workers. Because of this and because of the risks involved with jobs that require repetitive motions, many companies have health and safety professionals that assess job tasks. They use these assessments to then recommend ergonomic redesigns of work areas in order to minimize the risk of repetitive stress injuries. The problem with many of these tests is their subjectivity. With most of them, the safety personnel simply rate different activities on a scale of one to ten for injury risk.

However, University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers are using video of motions in order to determine algorithms. They are developing technology that could be used to predict risk more accurately. The technology could be used as an app on a smartphone, helping to better track motions and identify ones that carry greater risks. This may help engineers to redevelop workstations to minimize workplace injury risks.

In addition to manufacturing, there are other jobs that commonly result in repetitive stress syndrome. Secretarial work may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome that results from spending hours each day typing on computers. These types of injuries can be covered by workers’ compensation just as injuries resulting from accidents are. However, as employers might attempt to deny a repetitive stress claim and allege that the injury resulted from non-work activities, filers might want to have the assistance of an attorney when appealing an adverse decision.