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Repetitive stress injuries common in broad swath of industries

At first glance, industrial and office-based work may have next to nothing in common. However, the reality is that many roles in both fields are characterized by repetitive tasks. Those in the industrial sector might install the same component and office workers might complete tasks on their computers for the majority of the day.

The problem with repetitive motions like those mentioned above is that they can cause serious, painful medical conditions over time. Carpal tunnel syndrome is probably the most widely known illness in this category.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by the compression of a nerve in the wrist. As a result of this, people may experience numbness, weakness and tingling in their hands and fingers.

It's no shock that this type of condition could make it physically difficult to work. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that employees who had this condition took an average of 25 days off of work for treatment and recovery. This was well above the time off for most non-fatal injuries, which measures a median of 6 days.

According to data gathered in 2001, more than 70 percent of workers with carpal tunnel syndrome were operators, fabricators, laborers, technical support staff, salespeople and administrative support staff. Given the overlap between industrial and white-collar desk work, this figure seems consistent.

Just because carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive motion injuries cannot be traced back to a singular event or accident, workers with these conditions shouldn't hesitate to pursue workers' compensation. After all, coverage should be provided to any worker who suffers injury or illness as the result of work-related duties.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSD) Prevention," accessed July 23, 2014

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