Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) reasonable adjustments

RSI is an umbrella term for a range of painful conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system.

RSI conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tenosynovitis, tendinitis, tennis elbow and Raynaud’s syndrome, are usually caused or aggravated by work and is associated with repetitive and sustained or constrained postures.

The various forms of impairment falling under this umbrella term are likely to be covered by the Equality Act because their effects tend to worsen rather than diminish with the passage of time. They also place a number of limitations on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities such as writing, typing, signing (for teachers of deaf pupils), holding a tray or griping a cup.

Which tasks are you likely to struggle with at work?

You are likely to face barriers with the physical aspects of work, particularly with physical activities which are repetitive in nature.

Below are some of the symptoms associated with RSI:

  • Pain;
  • Loss of grip;
  • Loss of movement;
  • Muscle weakness or spasm;
  • Numbness;
  • Sensation of cold;
  • Burning sensation;
  • Pins and needles.

What kind of adjustments may be considered?

  • Review the design of the workplace and tasks;
  • Provide training on lifting techniques;
  • Provide tools and equipment to meet individual needs, such as an ergonomic mouse and keyboard for computers;
  • Redesign tasks to minimise repetitive movement;
  • Give breaks for rest recovery;
  • Vary tasks and rotate job;
  • Redesign the work station so that everything is within easy reach;
  • Install rubber flooring to absorb vibration;
  • Reduce time working in cold environments;
  • Provide electronic staplers, easy grip pens, headset phone;
  • Restrict writing/keyboard work;
  • Provide voice recognition software;
  • Keep deadlines and targets reasonable;
  • Provide document holders;
  • Provide an adjustable chair.

Further information:

RSI Awareness

Reasonable adjustments

Reasonable adjustments are primarily concerned with enabling disabled workers to remain in or return to work.

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Disability equality toolkit

Useful tools for reps to help them support disabled members.

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