Repetitive Stress Injuries and Workers’ Compensation

Repetitive stress injury (RSI) is one of the more common on-the-job injuries we see in workers’ compensation in Boston. While repetitive stress injury can be caused by many different reasons, they are often work-related.

cafe-1412140-m.jpgA recent news article from the New York Post looks at how many baristas (coffee shop employees) tend to suffer from repetitive stress injuries. One employee featured in the article was diagnosed with medial epicondylitis, which is a type of repetitive stress injury more commonly referred to as golfer’s elbow.

This barista, however, did not get injured playing golf. Rather the repetitive lifting of heavy containers of milk injured her, as did the complex set of hand and arm motions necessary to make one of the common specialty drinks. At employee noted, in order to make an espresso, it is necessary to tamp the espresso, load it into the coffee maker, and then turn a knob. While the movements may seem easy, imagine the strain on the arm and hand caused by doing this hundreds of times a day, five or six days a week for years. Nothing in this process is ergonomic.

This particular worker chose to wear an arm brace after being diagnosed, and ,then, at her doctor’s advice, eventually quit her job. Her particular doctor basically told her it was not a good job anyway.

As our Boston workplace injury attorneys can understand, not everyone has the luxury of quitting their job without compensation. Repetitive stress injuries caused at work should entitle the injured employee to workers’ compensation benefits in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

If you have been diagnosed with an RSI at work, the first thing you should do is to notify your employer. This is an on-the-job injury just any other accident would be, and there should be an injury report prepared by your employer. You should also speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at this stage in the process. As noted by the Executive Office for Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) in Massachusetts, at least half of all workers’ compensation claims are initially denied by employer’s insurance companies, and having legal representation will greatly help the injured worker in the workers’ compensations claims and appeals process.

Your attorney can also discuss how disability ratings are assigned in Massachusetts. The amount of benefits will be determined by the duration of your injury and whether or not you suffer permanent damage.

It generally doesn’t matter whether you work for a small business where you know your boss or a large corporation with its headquarters in another state. Your employer will have a workers’ compensation policy with a major insurance carrier who is likely far more interested in its profitability than whether you are fairly compensated for your on-the-job injury.

It should also be noted that repetitive stress injuries are not limited to the hands and arms. One person interviewed in the story discussed a RSI shoulder injury that resulted in the need for the employee’s vertebrae to be fused. This was caused by constantly looking down at the coffee machine.

If you are injured on the job in Massachusetts, call Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your workers’ compensation claim: (617) 777-7777.

More Blog Entries:

Fowler v Vista Care – Court Declines to Limit Access to Workers’ Compensation, June 28, 2014, Boston Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog

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