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Accident at work compensation news 26/02/2007

RSI costs revealed

It might not officially be classed as an accident at work, but Repetitive Strain Injury is nevertheless costing the British workplace a huge sum of money.

The latest statistics have revealed that Repetitive Strain Injury, or RSI as it is more commonly known, is now costing employers throughout the UK a massive 300 million every year.

Included in this figure is the cost of lost production, administration and sick pay and health groups are urging more to be done in the fight against RSI.

Repetitive Strain Injury was once dismissed by employers and those who claimed to be suffering from it were often branded as malingerers and hypochondriacs. It is now known, however, to be a very real problem and should be viewed with the same concern and attention as other, more obvious, accidents at work.

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapists has revealed that RSI now affects more than 370,000 people in the UK and 86,000 new cases were reported last year.

The society's chairman, Sarah Bazin, commented on the subject, saying, "Employers are losing hundreds of millions of pounds every year through RSI. This is totally unnecessary as RSI can be avoided."

She also added, "We urge all employers to use occupational health physiotherapists. Physios can advise on appropriate equipment and safe working practices for staff.

"Taking regular, short breaks throughout the day and reporting symptoms early on can help.

"Employers who invest in the health of their workforce can expect to see a reduction in sickness absence and a more productive workforce."

The Health and Safety Executive, the body responsible for cutting personal injuries caused by accidents at work in the UK, has undertaken its own research into the problem of RSI.

It found that those most at risk of suffering Repetitive Strain Injury were metal, plastic and textile workers, followed closely by bricklayers, carpenters and plumbers. Next followed nurses, journalists and computer technicians.

The location of where people suffering from RSI was also noted and it was found that England's North East had the highest rate with 1.3 of all 100 workers affected, while London had the lowest with just 0.59 per 100.

Some employers have now added RSI prevention to their agenda and spend as much time and money trying to stop it as they do other accidents at work.

Royal Mail is one such company, as Group Head of Health Doctor Su Wang explained, saying, "Many jobs within Royal Mail involve physical duties.

"Through the use of a Functional Restoration Programme, including physiotherapy, we estimate that we have saved in excess of 1 million a year, costs we would otherwise have incurred through absence and restricted duties.

"The programme has also been of benefit as we have been able to retain experienced staff and it has helped to foster good relationships with our workforce."

For more information about preventing Repetitive Strain Injury and other accidents at work, go to