Not all injuries sustained at work occur as a result of a one-time incident. In fact, oftentimes, employees develop wear and tear injuries, also known as repetitive stress injuries, from performing their work duties. Repetitive stress injuries usually develop when a motion is repeated several times a day, over the course of weeks, months, and years, and ultimately take a toll on an employee’s wellbeing. These types of injuries can leave a worker in a substantial amount of pain and render them unable to perform their usual tasks, or even simple functions, such as raising an arm.
Types of Wear and Tear Injuries
The list of wear and tear injuries is nearly endless, but some are more common than others. Some of these include:
- Impingement tunnel syndrome
- Ulnar tunnel syndrome
- Dystonia, also referred to as writer’s cramp
- Thoracic outlet syndrome
- Trigger finger
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Raynaud’s disease
- Radial tunnel syndrome
There are over 100 types of repetitive stress injuries that affect different parts and structures of the body, so the above list is merely a small sample of the injuries that are most frequently sustained.
Common Causes of Wear and Tear Injuries
Numerous factors can contribute to the development of a workplace wear and tear injury. Any time an employee must perform a task that is not appropriate for their physical body, it can result in excess strain, leading to wear and tear on the muscles and tendons in the affected area. If you work on an assembly line that requires you to consistently stretch and lean across the conveyor belt, your back, arms, and neck might be affected by this repetitive movement.
Other factors, aside from muscle overuse, that contribute to wear and tear injuries include:
- The use of vibrating equipment
- Having to adopt an awkward posture
- Remaining in a static posture for prolonged periods of time
- Performing tasks that require forceful movements
- Tasks that demand repetitive movements
- Using poorly designed equipment
- Working in an environment that is poorly organized and not ergonomically sound
- Not taking adequate breaks
- Heavy lifting or having to lift items that have a disproportionate weight distribution
Additionally, jobs that place a high demand on speed to increase production tend to put employees at a far greater risk of developing a wear and tear injury. If an employee’s task is limited and repetitive, working at a faster pace with limited breaks practically guarantees these types of injuries.
Who is at Risk?
Any worker in any industry can develop a repetitive stress injury, even office employees who have to regularly use computers to perform their job. However, others are more susceptible to sustaining these types of injuries, such as:
- Construction workers
- Assembly line workers
- Loaders and movers
- Restaurant workers
- Mail carriers
- Cleaning industry workers
- Telephone operators
- Seamstresses and tailors
- Field workers
- Cleaning industry workers
Symptoms of a wear and tear injury will depend on the nature of it and how severe it is, though most of these injuries include some of the following symptoms:
- Pain and tenderness
- Throbbing or aching
- The sensation of pins and needles or numbness
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of coordination
The symptoms of these types of injuries do not arise immediately, but rather over time. If you notice any of these symptoms or experience discomfort and pain while performing a repetitive job task, visit a doctor as soon as possible. When left untreated, these injuries can worsen and develop into chronic conditions.
Can I Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
If you developed a repetitive stress injury on the job, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, including medical benefits, travel reimbursement, income replacement, and vocational counseling. That said, oftentimes, injured workers encounter some difficulties when attempting to claim compensation benefits for these types of injuries since they are generally difficult to prove. As such, unless the injury requires surgery, proving the veracity of these claims will take some effort and effective legal representation.
Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Cobb County
Did you develop a repetitive stress injury at work? You could be entitled to vital workers’ compensation benefits. At Chestnut & Beller, our Cobb County team of workers’ compensation attorneys is ready to help you understand what your claim might be worth and to collect the compensation you deserve. You should not have to face the insurance company on your own!
Contact our firm today at (770) 285-5542 to schedule your free case evaluation with a knowledgeable member of our legal team.