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Employers must make changes to avoid repetitive stress injuries

There are many different reasons that someone in Denver may need to apply for Colorado workers' compensation. One extremely common reason is when a Colorado employer fails to make ergonomic adjustments to an employee's workspace, leading to repetitive stress injuries. These injuries include thoracic outlet syndrome, tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome, and are major workplace problems. The number of such injuries can be reduced, however, and there are ways of avoiding the worsening of these conditions.

The most important step may be early detection of a developing problem. Symptoms of these injuries all too often are ignored because many people will notice pain after the work day is over. Thus, some employees and employers fail to associate the pain with the repetitive work activity.

If at all possible, routine job tasks should be redesigned to eliminate or minimize repetitive actions. Breaks should be regularly taken by employees who perform the same motions over and over again for extended periods of time, including employees on computers.

Workplace chairs should be adjustable for height and other furniture should have an individual employee's ergonomic needs in mind. Computer work stations should be equipped with copyholders, wrist rests, back cushions, footrests and arm supports. The height of the computer monitor and keyboard should also be properly positioned for the individual worker.

Good workplace lighting can help reduce eyestrain and controls to workplace equipment should be located in positions where employees will not have to reach more than is necessary to operate switches. Employees should be encouraged to alternate between standing and sitting, if it is at all possible.

Mechanical assistance such as handcarts and devices to aid in lifting heavy weights should be made available and employers need to give employees instruction in proper lifting methods. Workplace noise levels and vibrations from power equipment should also be monitored and controlled.

When and until an employer makes the necessary changes, however, there will continue to be employees applying for and receiving workers' compensation benefits for the injuries they sustained at work.

Source: Business Management Daily, "Repetitive stress injuries: FAQs," Jan. 3, 2012

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Eley Law Firm
2000 S. Colorado Blvd. No. 2-740
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