When people think of workplace injuries, they often picture slips and falls. When people think of where employees are hurt on the job, they often think of construction sites. While a construction site is certainly one of the most dangerous work areas, it’s not the only one to be concerned with.
Repetitive stress injuries may be covered by worker’s compensation, but they are also avoidable. If you spend your day pecking away at a keyboard, your computer may very well be causing you injury that you won’t feel for years to come. By following a few simple tips, you can help to avoid these types of injuries.
When you type at the keyboard, your wrists should be kept as straight as possible. Curved keyboards are available to help users keep their wrists in the right position. Your wrists should not bend in toward your thumbs or pinky fingers. Try not to bend your wrists upwards or down. When you hold your wrists out of the neutral position you put added stress on ligaments and tendons.
If your keyboard has little legs in the back on its underside, it doesn’t mean you should use them. Many people believe that because these are available, it means that the back of the keyboard should be raised. Not so. Your keyboard should rest flatly on your desk in order to keep your wrists in the neutral position.
Many people with repetitive stress injuries incur them because of the way they use their mouse. It’s not unusual for the wrist to bend while using the mouse. If you find that this is happening to you, invest in a mouse pad with a gel wrist support. This will help to keep your wrist neutral.
Alternatively, you can depend on your keyboard shortcuts more than your mouse. You can also become an ambidextrous mouse user. It will take nearly a week for you to get used to controlling the mouse with your non-dominant hand, but you can switch it up instead of constantly using the same hand to move your mouse. Be aware, though, that this could lead to a repetitive stress injury in both wrists instead of being beneficial.
It is recommended by medical experts that anyone who types consistently for 20 to 30 minutes should take a break for five minutes. This gives your wrists time to relax. If you are already suffering with a repetitive stress injury, you should take breaks more frequently. If your employer frowns upon frequent breaks, remain at your desk but stop typing for five minutes or so. Stretch your wrists and fingers and then get back to work.
Pay attention to how you sit in your chair. If you are slouching, straighten up. Adjust your chair so that your back is straight. You don’t want to lean forward or back as you spend your day typing away. Adjust your monitor so that it is at eye level, and adjust your chair height so that your arms are bent in an “L”.
If you believe that you have a repetitive stress injury, see a medical professional. At their beginning stages, these types of injuries may be treated with rest, cold therapy and braces. When left to become severe, there may be no choice but surgery. Signs of a repetitive stress injury in the wrist include pain in the wrist and numbness or tingling in the fingers.
When a doctor diagnoses you with a repetitive stress injury, you should file the proper paperwork with your employer. A failure to do so may negate your ability to secure worker’s compensation insurance. Speak to your supervisor about the appropriate steps to take following such an injury. You may be asked to give a written explanation of your injury, along with a medical report from your physician.
Repetitive stress injuries can be painful. Unfortunately, a person typically does not even realize they are injured until serious interventions become necessary. Don’t assume that your injury is not covered by workers compensation simply because it is not acute. If your medical professional can show that your injury was sustained over time due to the nature of your scope of employment, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and more.
If you have sustained a repetitive stress injury in West Palm Beach, you may be able to secure not only worker’s compensation, but damages from your employer. You won’t know exactly what you are entitled to until you speak with one of our experienced attorneys. We are here to assist you as you work your way through the process of securing damages. Call our office today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation.